Reliance Jio Infocomm, the digitial arm of Reliance Industries (RIL), will start offering its 4G LTE services with free voice calls from September 5, ending the era of paid voice calling. The company will take competition head-on by providing data priced much below existing tariffs.
''Today, I have great pleasure in announcing a revolutionary concept for the Indian market. All voice calls for Jio will be absolutely free,'' RIL chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani said, adding, ''the era of paying for voice calls is ending.''
''Across India, to any network, there will be no roaming charges too,'' he added.
The company is providing all services free till 31 December 31. After December, customers will get all domestic voice calls, including roaming for free, while data will be charged.
Stating that Jio's principle is that data should be affordable, Jio will have a base rate, which is a 90 per cent discount to the prevailinbg industry rates. The data plans will have an effective rate of 5 paise per MB or Rs50 per GB.
''And the more data you use, the lower the rate,'' he said, addressing shareholders at the company's AGM today.
At presence, telecom companies charge a base rate of Rs4,000-10,000 per GB of data.
Ambani said that the tariff was based on three pillars. The first being that the customer should pay for only voice or data, secondly data must be affordable and finally, pricing structure should be simple.
The company is offering a slew of services including streaming music, high-definition video streaming and digital money payments. Content worth Rs15,000 is being given free till December 2017.
Calling the the initiative ''data-giri", Ambani said customers should pay for only one service, either voice or data, and if it means changing the structure of industry, then be it is so.
RJio has laid more than 2.5-lakh route km of optical fibre, and its
4G network will cover 18,000 cities and towns, and over 2 lakh villages. By March 2017, RJio intends to cover 90 per cent of India's population.
Bharti Airtel, the country's largest mobile operator welcomed RJIO.
''We welcome Reliance Jio's entry to the digital world and wish them the very best. We also welcome Jio's call to leading operators to work together. As a responsible operator we will fulfill all our regulatory obligations as we have always done,'' the company said in a statement.
''Over the last 20 years, Airtel has been contributing towards building a digitally enabled India and remains fully committed to and take leadership in supporting the Government's Digital India vision. We will continue to innovate and deliver best-in-class products and services to our customers,'' it said.