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Jio continues to cause headaches for competitors in India

Wife comforting her husband

Jio has continued its assault on the Indian telco market by extending its freebies offer through to 31 March 2017.

The company entered the fray in September with an offer which raised eyebrows throughout the country; data, voice, video and the full bouquet of Jio applications and content, absolutely free. As a result, Jio’s owner Mukesh Ambani claims the brand now has more than 52 million customers making it not only the fastest growing technology company in India, but the fastest growing company in the ‘history of the world’.

“In the first 3 months since its birth, Jio has grown faster than Facebook, WhatsApp or Skype,” said Ambani in his New Year’s speech. “In 83 days, Jio has crossed 50 million customers on its 4G LTE All-IP wireless broadband network! To each one of you, I want to say… Dhanyavaad. Thank You. This is your achievement.”

The offer of freebies for Indian customers, the Jio Welcome Offer as it was known, was essentially a huge beta test for the network prior to commercial launch, which is scheduled to take place in 2017, though it would appear Ambani is not happy with the headaches he’s caused competition to date.

In the same speech, Ambani also confirmed a new offer, the Jio Happy New Year Offer, which will extend the free data, voice and video proposition through to March 31 2017. And this isn’t just for new customers, those who are on the Jio Welcome Offer will be automatically added to the Jio Happy New Year Offer once the initial one has expired. Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and the rest must be wondering what they’ve done to deserve this treatment.

What is worth noting is the data throttling policy which will be put in place for the new offer.

“The Jio Happy New Year Offer incorporates a lot of our learnings from the Jio Welcome Offer,” said Ambani. “For instance, we have noticed that 80% OF Jio Users consume less than 1 GB of data daily. 1 GB per day is still a substantial amount of data. In fact, it is 30 times the average usage on other networks!

“But, the other 20% of users consume disproportionately higher amounts of data, and we have observed that this disproportionate usage contributes significantly to the congestion that I mentioned earlier. In short, 20% of the users create a poor experience for the other 80%. So, in the Jio Happy New Year Offer, we have fine-tuned our Fair Usage Policy to ensure that all users get a fair share of Jio’s network capacity.”

Data throttling wouldn’t necessarily be seen as a great thing in the industry, however Telecoms.com isn’t sure Jio’s customers can complain; they are getting the service for free after all. Data usage will now be limited to 1 GB per day, where it was 4 GB under the previous offer. What will be interesting to see is whether the data throttling policy changes when (or if) Ambani starts to charge customers.

The everyday man in India (or at least 52 million of them) will be celebrating the news from Ambani, however Jio’s competitors will continue to rub their temples and wonder when the nightmare will be over.

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