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Jio continues to cause chaos in India

Location India. Red pin on the map.

Jio has continued it quest to ruin the day of operators throughout India, hinting its free data offer may continue beyond March 31.

Much to the dismay of the more traditional telcos in the country, Jio’s New Year’s message to customers was a confirmation the free data offer would continue through to the end of March, and it’s not done yet. According to the FT, the additional $4.4 billion investment in the company will be used to ensure customers are fully satisfied with the Jio service.

“We will go commercial when our consumers can be satisfied with the product they are getting,” said Parimal Nathwani, Head of Corporate Affairs at Jio. “Other companies are stopping our traffic. They are worried that we are very strong in both data and voice calls, and they are trying to stop us.”

While the uptake of Jio has been a remarkable success for the business, the team has often complained about the obstructiveness of competitors. Jio execs claim the number of interconnection points made available by rival operators was “way below requirement”, resulting in a number of calls failing. In the case of Jio to Airtel customers, the team has stated 17.5% of calls have failed.

It would appear the business is not satisfied its fickle customers won’t return to the likes of Airtel and Vodafone once the offer has expired, owing to poor experience. Either this is a move to improve the experience prior to ending the deal, or the team just want to provoke competitors for a bit longer following numerous complaints Indian regulator TRAI is favouring Jio. Whichever is more accurate is irrelevant as it looks like the bitter battle for India’s smartphone market is set to continue.

One of the casualties of the ongoing saga has been Vodafone, which was the firm number two player in the market prior to the Jio launch, though this position is now questionable. In November Vodafone wrote down the value of its Indian business by £4.3bn, citing the challenge of Jio as the reason for lower returns though the team are not going to wither quietly.

Following a cash injection of $7 billion in September, the company is on the verge of restructuring its data plans to compete in the hostile pricing war. According to Economic Times, the team will now offer 4GB and 22GB 4G data packs at existing prices of Rupees 250 and Rupees 999 respectively, as opposed to existing 1GB and 10 GB data plans for the same price.

Whether this stems the flow of customers to Jio remains to be seen, though this is unlikely to be the last move in the battle as India continues to move towards the digital economy.


One comment

  1. thisisjmx 19/01/2017 @ 9:19 am

    Even though I live in Wales, I’m finding this very interesting! Love a good disrupter in the Mobile Network Operator market!

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