#Asia India’s newest telco just issued a fierce 4G challenge to rivals

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Reliance Jio, the telco launched by India’s richest man – has just taken the tariff war directly to its rivals’ turf.

“Jio will match the highest selling tariff of other operators and provide 20 percent more data than what other operators provide,” chairman Mukesh Ambani said at a press conference in Mumbai today. The company will announce these tariffs after March 31, when its new year offer that gave free voice calls, video calling, messaging and data, expires.

As India’s smartphone market explodes, telecom operators are caught in a long drawn battle over tariff plans and market share. Jio is the nation’s biggest 4G network, expected to disrupt the country’s data connectivity scene like never before.

Reliance’s disruptive moves have been repeatedly attacked by other telcos, who have cried foul over unfair pricing. Rivals cut their rates ahead of the Jio launch, in hopes that cheap services will gain them loyalty.

Post launch, the upstart rival has eaten into leading providers’ margins, and even spurred consolidation in the industry.

See: India wants a data revolution, but its telcos can’t stop brawling

“There are hundreds of plans available. Users go through data and value anxiety. So we are initiating this program to ride our tariffs over it to avoid confusion,” he added.

Jio has added over 100 million users in its 4G/LTE network in less than 6 months of its launch in September last year, “adding over seven new customers every second of every day,” Ambani said.

By the end of 2017, Reliance Jio expects to cover at least 99 percent of India’s population.

Reliance is known to be a disruptor in the telecom industry, an image it acquired around 2003 when the company triggered a smartphone revolution by launching a US$7 phone. Many believe that was the inflection point of mobile phone usage in the country when all, from street vendors to small shop owners, started wielding a phone.

Rivals

Rival telecom operators say that Jio is not playing fair by offering subscribers free voice calling for life. They’ve also gone up in arms against the new entrant accusing the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) of reviewing key policy measures favoring Reliance Jio.

Jio, on the other hand, blamed its rivals for restricting its operations by not providing enough inter-connect points, leading to call failures. TRAI’s verdict, however, was in favour of Jio, which fined all operators.

Since then, over 100,000 users have migrated to Jio via Mobile Number Portability which allows people to change operator while retaining the number, the company said.

“We will introduce new plans, but we will never charge for domestic calls and roaming,” he added.

Reliance Jio has invested close to US$22 billion in building its 4G network.

“Today we have more than double the 4G network our competitors have,” Ambani said.

This post India’s newest telco just issued a fierce 4G challenge to rivals appeared first on Tech in Asia.

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