$23-bln investment makes Reliance Jio the world's largest startup

By Staff Writer

Apr 01, 2016 02:28 AM EDT

Reliance Industries Ltd's (RIL) telecom venture Jio has emerged as the world's biggest startup with an estimated investment of INR 150,000 ($23 billion). Reliance Jio is expected to make telecom services more affordable in the country with population of over 1.2 billion. Industry observers expect a soft launch of Reliance Jio in April 2016. Reliance Jio will be one among world's top-10 internet giants.

Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries is a Fortune-500 company and India's largest private sector conglomerate. Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries, has announced that the INR 150,000 crore (1 crore= 10 million) investment makes Jio the world's largest startup. However, Ambani didn't mention the schedule of commercial launch of Reliance Jio. Nonetheless, industry observers forecast a soft launch of Jio this month and commercial launch by December 2016. 

The Economic Times reports that Reliance Jio has commenced services for its 120,000 employees. It'll roll out services for partners in Decembe, covering 70 percent of India from day one. Reliance Jio's broadband internet speed is estimated to be 40 to 80 times faster than the existing average speed in the country. 

Mukesh Ambani said: "It (Jio) is one of the largest transformational green-field digital initiatives anywhere in the world with an investment of over Rs 150,000 crore. I have no doubt that with the launch of Jio, India's rank will go up from 150 to among the top 10 of mobile Internet rankings in the world."

The head honcho is optimistic that Reliance Jio will cover 90 percent of country by 2017 with hi-speed internet coverage. India is at 150th position in mobile internet access rankings among 230 nations. However, Ambani didn't give any reason for delaying the official launch of Jio broadband services in the country. Indian media and entertainment segment grew from $2 billion in 2004 to $18 billion in 2015 and it'll be $100 billion in next decade, as reported by DNA India.

Ambani has assured that internet services will be affordable to consumers. If it's not affordable for consumers in the country, all of this is of no use, Ambani said. 

Reliance Industries in 2010 acquired broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum in 2300 MHz band. It has entered into a strategic partnership with Reliance Communications, which is owned by Mukesh's younger brother Anil Ambani. The partnership is for sharing and trading 850 Mhz airwaves and this can be used for 4G network. 

Reliance Jio targets 1.3 billion Indian to explore broadband internet services that transform their lives. It enables Indians to enter digital ecosystem. Mukesh Ambani is keen on four strategies including enhancing the country's internet coverge to over 70 percent from existing 15-20 percent, giving broadband speed faster by 40-80 times for Indian consumers, increasing data availability and provide affordable services, according to Gadgets360, an NDTV venture.

Reliance Jio is predicted to offer 10GB capacity per month for every use as against the existing average data consumption of 0.15 GB per month. Considering digitization as defining trend, Reliance Jio has been conceived by Reliance Industries. Reliance Jio will offer affordable high-speed data services over 4G or fourth generation network in India. 

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