Sale of 20% stake in oil and chemicals business to Saudi Aramco, a partnership for new cloud data centres and the commercial launch of Jio Giga Fiber from September 5 are among the big announcements made by Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani at the company’s 42nd annual general meeting on Monday.
RIL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani revealed that so far, Jio GigaFiber has received 15 million registrations for its Fiber home broadband service, and it is aimed to reach 20 million residences and 15 million business establishments across 1,600 towns – a step up from the 1,100 towns announced last year. Currently, Jio GigaFiber is in 5 lakh homes on a pilot basis. To recall, Jio GigaFiber has been in testing since 2016.
Jio Giga Fiber will essentially offer lifetime free voice calls from landline phones and high speed broadband, besides free high definition TV and dish with minimum subscription of Rs 700 per month.
Services under the plan will be available at one-fifth to one-tenth of current global rates, Ambani announced.
Ambani told the gathering that Reliance Industries will sell 20 per cent stake in its oil and chemicals business to Saudi oil giant Aramco for about $15 billion (approximately Rs 1.06 lakh crore) and nearly half of its fuel retail business to BP of UK for Rs 7,000 crore.
“This is the biggest foreign investment in the history of Reliance,” he said. “It is also amongst the largest foreign investments ever in India.”
As for fixed line international voice calling, Ambani announced the “lowest fixed line rates for international calling.” The default tariffs on the Jio Home phone will be priced from a fifth to a tenth of existing industry tariffs. An unlimited international calling pack for calls to US and Canada was also announced for Rs. 500 per month.
At the Reliance AGM, Ambani also revealed that Jio Fiber plans will come bundled with subscriptions to most leading premium OTT applications, possibly referring to Hotstar Premium and Netflix. As for watching new movies, premium Jio Fiber customers will be able to watch movies the same day they are released. The service is called Jio First-Day-First-Show, which will be launched in the middle of 2020.
Jio Fiber subscribers will also get a mobility service, called Jio Postpaid Plus. Meant to be a “platinum grade service”, Jio Postpaid Plus will offer priority SIM set-up service at home, family plans with data sharing, international roaming, and phone upgrades at preferential rates. More details about these tariffs will be available on Jio.com and the MyJio app on September 5
Ambani also revealed that the Jio GigaFiber IoT (Internet of Things) platform will be commercially available from January 1, 2020. He added that in 2 years, it is estimated there will be 2 billion connected IoT devices in India, and Jio aims to connect over 1 billion IoT devices. The company is looking to get revenue from home, enterprise, and MSME broadband services in India.
Also announced was the Jio Fiber Welcome Offer, where Jio Fiber subscribers opting for annual plans (called Jio Forever Plans) will get a HD LED or 4K TV and a 4K set-top box free.
Separately, the Jio Set-Top Box was announced, and it is claimed to be designed to accept TV signals from LCO partners. Also demoed at the event was the use-case applications Jio HoloBoard mixed reality (MR) headset, developed in collaboration with Tesseract.
Ambani at the Reliance AGM also announced Jio Digital Platform and Solutions, including a partnership with Microsoft. Also announced were blockchain developments, where the company plans to create one of the largest networks with tens of thousands of nodes over the next 12 months with the aim to store Indian data securely within Indian borders.
Ambani had a couple of announcements for startups and SMBs in India as well. Jio will make “connectivity and cloud infrastructure absolutely free for budding startups,” Ambani said, and startups can now register for a custom-designed package on Jio.com. This service will be available from January 1, 2020.
As for MSMEs, Ambani said it costs such companies between Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 20,000 a month for a bundle of connectivity, productivity, and automation tools. These applications along with Jio connectivity will be provided at a tenth of the cost, i.e., starting at Rs. 1,500 per month. MSMEs will get unlimited enterprise grade voice and data services, video conferencing, security solutions, marketing and sales solutions, and Microsoft productivity tools.