Reliance Jio Infocomm, the wireless telecommunications and data services unit of Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries, is set to start a beta programme for assessing its network capabilities before the commercial launch of fourth-generation mobile telephony or 4G services in December.
“We are in the final lap of launch of our Jio services which will bring about a positive transformation in the lives of millions of Indians…An extensive beta programme will be initiated over the next few weeks to further test the network, prior to full commercial launch of operations,” Ambani, who is the chairman and managing director of RIL, said.
The launch of the 4G services by Reliance Jio is expected to give a push to digital businesses at large in India. Reliance Jio is the only firm to have a pan-India licence for providing the fast broadband service.
It is also expected to shake up the market for other broadband service providers.
As part of its December launch, RIL aims to unveil 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) smartphones in India at under Rs 4,000. With 4G LTE, users can download videos, documents or songs in mere seconds and live streaming of full-length movies becomes seamless.
Over the next three years, Jio plans to more than double its optical fibre network and connect over one million homes through it by April 2016.
Ambani wants the firm to achieve 100 per cent penetration in India over the next three years.
Financial year 2016-17 would be the first full year of Reliance Jio’s commercial operations.
Reliance Jio plans to provide 4G services using LTE in the 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz bands.
It had acquired Infotel Broadband Services within hours of the latter winning nationwide wireless broadband licence five years ago. The company recently signed a pact with Chinese firm Huawei for sourcing 4G devices. A recent news report by The Economic Times said that Reliance Jio has placed additional orders for lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery systems worth over 20 million euros with Paris-based Saft to support the next phase of its 4G/LTE roll-out programme.
Incumbent telecom operators Bharti Airtel and Vodafone have also started 4G network trials in select cities.
RIL today posted 4.4 per cent rise in first-quarter consolidated net profit to Rs 6,222 crore, while revenue declined by 23 percent to Rs 83,064 crore on a year-on-year basis.