Jio finds another $4bn for Indian mobile market domination

Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani has found another $4.4 billion to invest into the ambitious expansion plans of his challenger mobile brand, Jio.

At a time where the business’ competitors are claiming the free-services are anti-competitive, Ambani has made a statement with the additional cash to attempt to steal more customers from the likes of Bharti Airtel and Vodafone. According to Bloomberg, the additional funds will be used to enhance its network capacity, offering customers free-for-life voice calls and free data services through to the end of March.

In response to the Jio challenge, competitors have been slashing tariffs and increasing data allowances in an effort to retain customers. In the first week of 2017, Airtel announced it was offering 4G customers free data for a year, though there are strings attached to the deal, namely fair-use policies on a monthly basis and over the course of the year.

Alongside the war to win customers, Airtel and Jio are also warming up for another battle in the mobile payments arena. In the latter stages of 2017, India’s government made the bold move in banning 86% of the nation’s currency in circulation, strong-arming the country towards the digital payment economy. The courageous move does seem to have worked so far, digital payments increased 43% to 958 million transactions in December in comparison to November, but it has also sparked another potential skirmish between the brands.

Last week, the government announced the launch of Airtel Payments Bank, which could be viewed as a means to suppress the anger of the Airtel team which has accused the regulatory TRAI of favouring the Jio business.

India is the world’s second largest smartphone market in terms of subscribers, and with a fast growing middle-class it looks like an attractive market for the struggling smartphone industry. That said, we at are loving the fantastically obnoxious move from Ambani. If your competitors are complaining about anti-competitive strategies, find some more cash so you can scale them up further. Hopefully it will be like petrol on a fire, and we can’t wait to see the fallout.

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