Reliance chief Mukesh Ambani has announced the launch of JioGigafiber, the conglomerate’s foray into the broadband sector. He has promised to make JioGigafiber the latest market disruptor from the Reliance stable, following the launch of Reliance Jio mobile phone services two years ago.
Announcing the launch of JioGigafiber, Ambani said, “We will now extend fiber connectivity to homes, merchants, small and medium enterprises and large enterprises simultaneously across 1,100 cities to offer the most advanced fiber-based broadband connectivity solutions.”
“This is the largest greenfield launch for broadband services anywhere in the world,” he added. Read full text of Mukesh Ambani’s speech
Ambani’s announcement came at the 41st AGM of RIL in Mumbai on Thursday. He declared that Reliance is presently in its ‘golden decade’. Ambani also laid out a vision for the path forward for RIL. “As our Golden Decade rolls on, our consumer businesses will contribute nearly as much to the overall earnings of your company as our energy and petrochemical businesses,” he said.
The AGM also saw the unveiling of JioPhone 2, which Reliance says is meant to cater to the demand for a phone with a full keypad. Ambani also announced that Reliance Jio’s customer base had grown to 215 million users from 123 million last year. Ambani said Jio had seen data usage of 240 crore GB.
Fiber-to-home services are aimed at improving the last-mile connectivity of broadband services. Most networks operate by bringing a fiber optic cable to a hub in the building and then connecting individual customers by using conventional cables. This leads to a loss in the speed of the connections. Bringing fiber optic cables in this last mile of connectivity usually delivers dramatic improvements in the speed of connections.
RIL would be looking to leverage the launch of JioGigafiber, especially against the backdrop of the lower-than-expected performance of Reliance Jio announced on April 27. Jio recorded only a 1 percent increase in net profit from the previous quarter. Analysts had blamed this on the ongoing pricing war that was triggered by Jio’s entry into the market. The pricing war had taken a toll not just on Jio, but on the bottomlines of all telecom majors.
RIL had also announced a consolidated net profit of just over Rs 9,400 crore for the quarter which ended in March. Though this reflected a rise of 17 percent from the same quarter the previous year, the number had fallen short of analysts’ estimates. RIL also reported a 39 percent YoY growth in the in consolidated revenue, at Rs 1.29 lakh crore.