India is on the cusp of a mobile data revolution
- "Jio's 4G network covers 18,000 cities and towns, and over 2 lakh villages. By March 2017, we will cover 90% of India's population. It will be the largest 4GE network today"
Reliance Jio founder Mukesh Ambani
The launch of mobile network operator Reliance Jio has triggered nothing less than a revolution in India’s telecom domain. Currently, only 49 per cent of Indians own mobile phones, and data penetration is just 21 per cent. Jio aims to provide 4G coverage to 90 per cent of the Indian population by 2017.
While it’s too early to say if the company will be able to live up to its claims, some of which seem highly optimistic, it has already changed national conversations abount mobile data, connectivity and consumption.
Jio has disrupted the industry, forcing competitors to play by their rules to stay relevant.Even if Reliance is unable to reach its goal, it has nevertheless mobilised an entire industry to try harder, making universal coverage seem achievable, even if Jio can’t do it alone.
Jio’s arrival also has the potential to amplify internet usage among those already using mobile data. Until now, Indian telecom infrastructure hasn’t offered a seamless mobile data experience, or one that allows for heavy data consumption while on the move. Promises of a million WiFi hotspots, and cheap high speed 4G data rates by Jio, therefore, promise a new technological and cultural landscape – one that could change online behaviours radically, particularly among those on-the-go. With Google announcing plans to set up free public WiFi networks across cities after its successful railway Wifi project, India’s whole online ecosystem seems to be evolving.
By offering free bundled content packages that incentivise more liberal data use, Jio could also create new opportunities for others looking to enter the content space, especially in streaming video and audio. This implies a change not just in the way content is consumed but also the kind of content they consume.
With every sector keeping a keen eye on the Jio wave, it is evident that riding and cashing in on this is not something any business would even dream of missing out on – surely not when India is one of the most crucial markets bringing the next billion people online.
- Article by Adrija Dhoundiyal