India is seeing an onslaught whole new generation of startups with new age work process and ethics make an impact on the world. In a country where more than 50% of the population is below the age of 25 and more than 60% is 35, a fresh style of hands-on business backed by technology was inevitable.
Jio was launched with an idea to bridge the need for a telecommunications company which would empower Indians with a way to stay connected without worrying about heavy usage bills and data that would help Indians realise their full potential and put them on par with global standards.
While its parent company Reliance had already established its roots firmly in the Indian market making sure that Jio has the best backup it needs and will not be a one-hit wonder. Jio also has created a separate identity for itself for realising its goals with less than a year of its launch.
It has turned the telecom market upside down with its revolutionary way of looking at data as a resource that could change the telecom sphere completely. It invested in pure 4G technology as the network of the future combined with free voice calling and data rates so affordable that it brought about a great change in the way the India consumed data, as proven by many recent studies. Jio started out as the underdog and became the true market leader with all of the telecom incumbents looking to it for the next big thing.
Like any other startup looking to make its niche in the market, Jio was not unfamiliar to the startup pangs. The competition was already wary of Jio and lowered their prices by 10% even before Jio’s launch. After the launch, they tried very hard to match Jio’s rates not by reducing their data rates but cleverly packaging old offers as new ones, adding hidden terms and conditions that the ones that may seem great and reducing the time period of offers. All of this was done in a bid to retain customers while at the same time they branded Jio’s pricing as “predatory” and “harmful to the industry” to reduce its credibility among the people. Not only this, they denied Jio the required POI for a long time which caused inconvenience to the people hoping to take advantage of Jio’s free voice calling facility.
While many startups would have practically shut shop if faced with such tough competition but Jio got through this tough phase. Jio initially had many issues when it came to not getting a signal indoors, calls dropping and dead spots in some areas but it has continually worked on its network to make it better during the preview offer by letting people test the network themselves and continued to provide people with offers to encourage them to give the network a try. After which they successfully transitioned into a paid service without having anyone leave the network dissatisfied.
The Jio Impact
There is no denying that Jio has revolutionized the telecom and brought about a change other networks couldn’t have dreamed of bringing even in the next decade. The recently published KPCB report published tracing the present Internet Trends in the country throws light the how far we have come digitally in such a short span of time. Presently, India is number 2 on the global scale of internet users which are around 355 million even with a modest online penetration of 27%. And the demand only seems to be growing with the Y-o-Y growth recorded at a whopping 40%.
Till Q2 of 2016 Bharti Airtel, Vodafone & Idea collectively maintained approx. 60% market share of broadband subscribers with an total monthly ARPU between Rs 180 to Rs 190. Then in September 2016, Reliance Jio officially launched their services and in the next Q4 of 2016 and Q1 of 2017, due to the data price war the cost of 1GB got slashed more by 48% to Rs 125/GB approx, where Jio offered 1GB data for less than Rs 15.
After March 2017, Jio converted 72 Mn customers out of 108Mn into Jio Prime, a conversion to paid rate of 67% and Jio’s monthly ARPU rose from 0 to Rs.300. Now, Jio has 108Mn subscribers leading the broadband market at 39%.
Jio has bagged the first place four months continuously according to the TRAI MySpeed data that helps analyse the fastest average speeds in the country. JioTV and Hotstar are among the most downloaded apps globally which shows that the abundance of data has changed people’s perception and they’d rather stream content than download or avoid it altogether. All of these changes can be attributed to Jio to some extent.
The latest OpenSignal report to come out states that India ranks 15th on the global scale for 4G availability although we have a long way to go in terms of speed, but an interesting point to be noted here would be that Jio showed the lowest recorded speed in the month of January which was the time of this Open Signal survey and that may have very well brought down the national average of the country.
While most startups can be attributed to bringing something new to the table, it is not easy for a startup to single handedly revolutionised an industry and pull off this incredible feat of bringing down data rates in less than a year. But Jio has proved itself and carved its success story in the telecom market.