Mukesh Ambani-promoted Reliance Jio has crossed the 50-million subscriber mark in less than three months after its full-fledged 4G services launch to emerge as the largest broadband operator in the country, reports PTI.
According to the news agency's sources, Jio has set a record by acquiring 1,000 customers per minute (since 5 September) at a rate of 6 lakh per day.
"Jio continues to be the fastest growing company in the world and has crossed 50 million subscribers in a record 83 days," PTI's sources said.
Airtel reached the same milestone of notching 50 million subscribers in 12 years, while Vodafone and Idea took 13 years each, though Jio is entering a market that's far more mature, and it has been able to sign up customers at a much faster rate thanks to the Jio welcome offer that comes with no monthly rentals and free usage.
Reliance Jio Infocomm had launched its commercial services on 5 September, and as per the last update had notched up 16 million users in the first month of its operation.
The subscriber base of Jio has already reached one-fifth that of market leader Bharti Airtel, which had 262.67 million mobile subscribers in October. According to the latest data by Cellular Operators Association of India, Vodafone had 201.90 million subscribers and Idea Cellular 180.25 million users.
"Beating industry estimates, the company has signed up an average of 6 lakh subscribers a day, which is a globally unprecedented feat for any customer-facing company including the likes of Whatsapp, Facebook and Skype," the source pointed out.
Sources claimed that Jio has become India's largest digital services operator with highest number of mobile broadband users surpassing telecom major Airtel's 41 million 3G and 4G customers combined acquired over last six years.
Only on 4G to 4G comparison, Jio's customer base is now five times that of Airtel (around 10 million subscribers); 17 times of Idea (3 million subscribers).
At RIL's 42nd annual general meeting, Ambani had said his new telecom venture would aim to acquire 100 million customers "in the shortest possible time and create a new world record".
This would translate into a data usage of 250 crore gigabyte per month, he had then said.
Jio, whose controversial entry into the world's second-largest telephony market sparked off a tariff war, had onboarded 1.5 million users on its 4G network during the testing phase.
It is aggressively competing with players such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone and is offering users data services free till 31 December 2016, if they buy a Jio connection by 3 December.
From 1 January 2017 the data services will be charged at rates starting at Rs19 a day for occasional data users, Rs149 a month for low data users and Rs4,999 a month for heavy data subscribers. Jio has promised to keep voice and roaming services free for life.