Mukesh Ambani – Rs 4,000 LTE Smartphones come by year-end

Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani today made several key announcements about the launch of the company’s telecom, Internet and media services under its Reliance Jio brand. The details set forth in his speech give an idea of how Reliance Jio can totally disrupt the existing telecom and Internet scenario in the country.


Here is a transcript of Ambani’s speech at Reliance Industries’ Annual General Meeting today (important points have been highlighted in bold):

“In my address to you at last year’s AGM, I had promised you a significant update on Reliance Jio when we meet again this year. Firstly, I would like to applaud and salute the entire Jio team for what they have achieved in the past two years. Their accomplishments have been nothing short of exceptional. Let me now share with you the extent of their work.

Jio is now present in all of the 29 states of India, with a direct physical presence in nearly 18,000 cities and towns of our nation. Jio’s wireless footprint extends even further and covers over one lakh villages. We are expanding this footprint to cover nearly 80% of India’s population by the end of this year. Our roadmap is to have 100% national coverage within the next 3 years.

Jio is the first 4G broadband wireless operator to achieve wireless coverage far in excess of the rollout obligation as per its license conditions. In rural areas, we are prioritizing connectivity to thousands of schools. This is to ensure that the benefit of our broadband initiative is first and foremost felt by students who stand to gain the most by accessing the Information highway.

Jio has also deployed a network of nearly 250,000 route kilometres of fibre optics, thereby creating a future-proof digital backbone across India. 6 Over the next 3 years, Jio will more than double this fibre footprint by deploying fibre optics in the last mile. We are using this deep fibre network also to ramp-up our Fibre-to-the-Home deployment. By April of next year, we would have connected over 1 million homes via fibre with a capability of rapidly scaling up in the top 50 cities of India.

Jio is the only operator in the World providing next generation digital services over an end-to-end all-IP network. We are also connecting Enterprises, SMB, and SME customers over this high speed IP network, enabling advanced services using cloud based solutions.

In addition to this domestic fibre optic capacity, Jio has created a multi-Terabit capacity international network. More than half of Internet traffic served by Jio will be carried end-to-end on Jio’s own network, creating an unparalleled customer experience.

Simply put, what Jio has done is to connect the remotest village of the country to any Internet destination hosted anywhere in the world.

Dear Shareholders, Across the world, a full-blown social, mobile, digital and cloud revolution is underway. To support India’s prominent participation in this revolution, Jio has operationalized nearly half a million square feet of its own next-generation Cloud data centres.

Work is underway to double this capacity over the next year. Planning and executing such complex projects is a core Reliance strength. The Jio team has grown rapidly over the past year to over 17,500 full time employees.

This team has successfully managed dozens of world-class technology partners and more than 150,000 people on the ground to achieve this rollout. Even as Jio undertakes this mammoth rollout, we continue to take steps to further strengthen its competitive position.

Our acquisition of wireless spectrum during the spectrum auctions conducted in March of this year is a case in point. In addition to the existing Pan India 2300 MHz spectrum and 1800 MHz in 14 circles, Jio invested over Rs 10,000 crore during this year’s auction to acquire 800 MHz spectrum in 10 circles and 1800 MHz spectrum in 6 circles.

This brings our cumulative investment in spectrum assets to nearly Rs 34,000 crores. Jio now has the largest footprint of liberalized spectrum in the country, acquired in an extremely cost effective manner.

Dear Shareowners, All the key components of the Jio broadband network are now operational. As we speak, we have an end-to-end initial capacity to serve in excess of 100 million wireless Broadband and 20 million Fibre-to-the-Home customers, with capability to easily expand further as the business scales up.

We are currently in the pre-launch testing and stabilization phase of this large and complex network. Over the next few months, we will initiate an extensive beta launch involving millions of friendly customers across all our markets.

This beta program will be upgraded into commercial operations around December of this year. I am glad to announce that financial year 2016-17 will be the first full year of commercial operations for Jio. It is personally gratifying for me that Jio’s investments are aligned to Government of India’s “Digital India” vision for our nation.

This is a key theme for transforming our nation and creating opportunities for all citizens by harnessing digital technologies. Jio’s broadband assets will be the bedrock for this digital India, creating an unparalleled customer experience.

Simply put, what Jio has done is to connect the remotest village of the country to any Internet destination hosted anywhere in the world.

I am confident that Jio will play a significant role in lifting India from its current 142nd rank on internet penetration to amongst the top 10 nations in the world. Let me briefly touch upon another key focus area for Jio, namely – Devices.

The best network and the best of content cannot be seamlessly accessed without capable and affordable devices. Ensuring the availability of affordable 4G LTE smartphones has been one of the topmost priorities for Jio.

Jio and Reliance Digital teams have worked with all the leading device manufacturers of the world to ensure availability of 4G LTE smartphones across all price points – from ultra-premium models on one hand, to entry level models on the other.

Having a strong line-up of smartphones, tablets and devices across all price points will remove a key barrier to mass adoption of broadband data, High Definition voice, video calling, messaging and rich value-added services.

It is interesting to note that in China 4G LTE devices as a percentage of overall device shipment has increased from 10% to over 84% in just the past year. I expect a similar trend in India.

The combination of Jio’s strong initiatives and a supportive global environment, gives me the confidence that we will see 4G LTE smartphones in India at prices below Rs 4,000 by December of this year.

Dear Shareholders, Jio is well-positioned to emerge as a global Tier-1 telecom operator. But, Jio is much more than just telecom services. The three-pronged combination of broadband networks, affordable smartphones and the availability of rich content and applications has created a global Information tsunami.

We had foreseen this development even when Jio was first conceptualized. We followed an integrated business strategy from the very beginning, and today, Jio is capable of offering a unique combination of telecom, high speed data, digital commerce, media and payment services.

In April this year, we launched our first mobile application, ‘Jio Chat’. Jio Chat is a powerful communication application that integrates chat, voice, video calling, conferencing, file sharing, photo sharing and much more in a single application.

We released Jio chat on both theAndroid Play store andApple app store on a pilot basis. In just the first few weeks of operations, Jio Chat now has a million active users, without any paid promotions or over paid advertisements whatsoever.

This is just the first public glimpse of the digital capabilities that we have developed at Jio. Let me take a few moments to talk about the other applications that we will be unveiling in the coming weeks Switch-and-Walk is an interesting application that allows customers to seamlessly copy everything from their old phone to a new phone.

All your contacts, messages, photos, music, media and applications – from one phone to another, wirelessly, with just a few easy clicks. No wires. No lost information. Across operating systems and phone models. ‘Jio Drive’ is an application that brings powerful cloud capabilities to every smartphone.

Using Jio Drive, anyone can store, sync and share any content between their own devices and also with their friends. This is the type of capabilities that only large enterprises are able to provide to their employees.

With Jio Drive, every consumer and small business owner will have this ability. Now to entertainment and news, which has been, and still remains, a huge opportunity. 8 Jio is ready to launch a suite of exciting, engaging, exclusive and entertaining digital media products.

First comes ‘Jio Play’. With this, one will be able to watch HD TV anytime, anywhere on any device. It has hundreds of channels, across categories and languages. In developed markets, over a billion hours of video is consumed every month on demand. 50% of all peak traffic is video on demand traffic.

We have built a best in class, personalized video on demand application that brings Bollywood, regional and international movies, TV episodes, trailers and music videos in High Definition for your entertainment. ‘Jio Beats’ is a premier digital music streaming service that gives you instant access to millions of songs and curated playlists – from old favourites to the latest hits. One can also download music listen to it offline.

and ‘Jio Mags’ provides the most popular collection of magazines, in full colour and with a slew of innovative features. One can read past issues along with the very latest issues. Imagine enjoying your favourite magazine on your mobile and tablet with embedded videos.

‘Jio News’
delivers a one stop shop for all news from leading news publishing houses across multiple languages and categories. It offers instant live updates with zero loading time and offline reading capability.

All these services are ready and are being piloted today and will be launched along with Jio connectivity services. Jio will bring true digitization and a transformation of the current television viewing experience, and mark a shift in the controls from the broadcaster to the hand of the consumer. This year, we completed the acquisition of Network 18.

Network 18 has 17 news channels, 14 entertainment channels, in 8 languages, and a strong set of internet businesses that will be well positioned to transition to the Jio platform. We are working to transform all of these to build and sustain leadership in each of these areas.

By 2017-18 it will be the most integrated TV / mobile set of content in India. I am privileged to have Shri Adil Zainulbhai from the Board to guide this initiative.

Earlier this year, Jio also applied for a pan-India cable television multi-system operator (MSO) license and has plans to enter into broadcast TV distribution.

I will apprise you of further progress in the forthcoming AGM. Another exciting area that Jio is working on is Jio Money, our digital money and digital payments business.

Evidence from developed markets show that mass adoption of digital payment solutions have significant positive impacts on the economy. It brings better transparency, improves financial inclusion, facilitates merchant business and drives growth of trade & commerce. However, more than 95% of all Retail payments in India are still done using cash.

Out of 20 million or so merchants in the country, less than 1 million accept card based payments. In turn, this lack of acceptance of digital payments by merchants means that customers remain wedded to cash. Jio Money will play a crucial role in digitisation of payments in India by offering a platform for ubiquitous, affordable and secure digital payments.

It is the ideal solution for even our smallest merchants, such as kiranas, restaurants, and taxi drivers. No additional device is needed and they will be able to accept payments using just their phone. 9 Our goal is to create a wide network of merchants who use Jio Money, so that most household payments can happen digitally.

Customers can use Jio Money’s digital wallet, a Jio Money card or any other credit/debit card directly from the wallet to pay merchant seamlessly and instantly. Jio Money digital wallet will also give consumers the option of opening a Digital Bank Account or linking their existing account. This will help them access banking anywhere, anytime.

I am pleased to share that the core Jio Money product and the end to end systems that support it are operational. To begin with, we have launched the product within a few Reliance campuses and facilities. We expect to expand the Jio Money presence city by city, across the country in phases over the next few quarters. Jio Money will leverage on Jio’s digital network and distribution reach to acquire these untapped merchants.

Your company has also partnered with India’s largest commercial bank, State Bank of India, to apply for the Payments Bank license under regulations issued by the Reserve Bank of India.

The Payments Bank, if approved, will complement our initiatives on the digital payments business and also enable distribution of financial services by leveraging on Retail and other Jio business in the most accessible, simple and affordable manner with specific focus on the financially excluded. Dear Shareowners,

I am immensely proud of our ongoing achievements at Jio. We have created a legacy free, next-generation voice and broadband network which can be seamlessly upgraded even to 5G and beyond. We will deliver the gold standard for coverage and capacity, and push to raise the bar even further with small cells. We have created a slew of innovative digital applications, with a roadmap to introduce similar applications in education and healthcare, two additional sectors that we have prioritized.

In everything that we have done at Jio, we have lived by the 3 manttras of “Simple, Smart and Secure”. However, I believe that Jio’s role is much larger than just offering its own services. Jio’s true success will be measured by a whole new generation of entrepreneurs stepping up to leverage the digital assets that Jio has built.

In that sense, what Jio is building is a powerful platform on which a range of rich digital services can be enabled. It does not matter whether these services are created by Jio itself, its ecosystem partners or anyone globally.

We are committed to the principles of Net Neutrality. Our founder Chairman, Dhirubhai, used to say that the success of the young entrepreneur will be the key to India’s transformation in the new millennium. Digital currency, digital commerce, digital education, digital healthcare, e-governance, M2M and the Internet of things, Smart Cities; I won’t be exaggerating if I say that each of these areas are ripe for hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurial ventures.

Collectively, Jio and Jio-enabled entrepreneurs can sow the seeds of a whole new digital economy, leading to a phase of unprecedented growth, empowerment, employment and prosperity for our nation. With such a broad canvas to paint on, Jio continues to be a magnet for the best talent from across the world. Every day, I am privileged to work alongside thousands of passionate and dedicated professionals who strive tirelessly to bring Jio to life.

Dear Shareholders I have no doubt that Jio’s multipronged business model and flawless execution will translate to unparalleled value creation for shareholders. 10 Truly, when I look forward to the impact that Jio stands to make in the lives of illions of our citizens, I am reminded of m the words of the great Indian poet, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore: “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high Where knowledge is free… Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.” It is my fervent conviction that a digital India will awaken to its rightful place in the World as a global leader.