Reliance Jio: Cheapest Internet Addiction in the World

MK Digital Line
a report by BBC, 1 gigabyte (GB) of mobile data cost $0.26 in India, compared with $12.37 in the US, $6.66 in the UK, and a global average of $8.53. But many Indian users said they were actually paying less than $0.10 per GB, while consumers in the US and UK too said they were paying less than what the survey reported.

Reliance Jio was launched in September 2016 with free trial offer, which helped them get more than a hundred million customers in just six months. In just less than four years, Jio has become the largest telecom operator in India, with over 376.53 million subscribers by 31st December 2019. Sums up to 32.56 per cent market share.

The total number of telephone subscribers in India reached 1.18 billion as of 31 March 2020. The number of wireless subscribers is over 1.17 billion and the number of wireline subscribers is 20.58 million. Jio has driven data prices down sharply in India. But industry analysts say Jio is just subsidising its service to get customers and squeeze out competitors. 

Jio succeded with both of their agendas. As they have the largest market share of 32% as well as there were 10 telecom operators when Jio launched, now there are just four. Director of The Cellular Operators Association of India says, "These low prices are not sustainable if operators have to continue to make investments in network coverage, quality and new technology. Return on capital is in the low single digits for this industry. Operators will need to review their pricing, to correct this situation."

Digital rights activist Nikhil Pahwa argues that the data rates will go up because this hyper-competitive state is not sustainable. In April 2017 Jio started with Rs. 303 (Excluding Jio Prime) pack, which offered 28 GB data for 28 days with additional benefits of unlimited calls & SMS.

In April 2020, Jio offers 84 GB data for 56 days with 2000 min of Jio-to-non-Jio calls at Rs 399 with 100 SMS/day. The benefits of Jio are reducing ever since with addition to non-essential services like Jio-Cinema & JioMusic. And with the larger market share and less competition in the sector, Jio is continuing hiking the data rates.

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