India‘s digital world designed by India’s richest man

Apr 01, 2016, 08:00 am

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Mukesh Ambani to invest Rs 150,000 crore (26 trillion won) to help India become among the top ten mobile broadband markets in the world.
Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, revealing his investmentplan at Bengal Global Business Summit in Kolkata, India, January 8, 2016./Photographed by Ha Man-joo

By Ha Man-joo, India correspondent, AsiaToday - Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, 58, is the world's 36th richest man and the richest Indian man with a net worth of $19 billion. He's not just any other rich man, but he is an innovator dreaming of fundamental changes in Indian society.

Indian media outlets reported Thursday that chairman Ambani will invest Rs 150,000 crore (26 trillion won) to push India to the top 10 from 150th rank in mobile internet access in the world.

According to chairman Ambani, only 15-20% of the Indian population have access to mobile internet. He revealed that he will start high-speed mobile broadband services with 70% coverage with speeds that are 40-80 times faster than the existing speeds. He also said he will provide the capacity of nearly 10 GB for every user as against the current data consumption of 0.15 GB per annum.

This could solve India's 'mobile broadband infrastructure's speed problem to some extent, which was pointed out by Japan's SoftBank group chairman Masayoshi Son at the 'Start-up India, Stand up India' held in New Delhi in last January.

Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani (front row in the middle) shakeshands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (second to left), who visitedReliance Hall during the Make in India Week at the Bandra-Kurla Complex in Mumbai,India, February 13, 2016./ Photographed by Ha Man-joo


While not specifying the actual date of commercial launch, Ambani said the soon-to-be-launched Reliance Jio will carry out such plans from the day one. Therefore, that time could refer to the end of the year because industry experts expect that the commercial launch of Jio is likely to get pushed to December 2016.

Jio has already launched services for Reliance group employees and partner companies in December 2015, and is preparing for a soft launch in April ahead of its commercial launch.

In order to achieve Ambani's goal, distribution issue is as important as technological issues. In response, Ambani said, "All of this would be of no use if it was not accessible and affordable to consumers in all parts of the country, Jio will lower the cost to the user."

For the soft launch, customers should be able to pick up a Jio SIM card for Rs 200 (3,500 won), which should come with free data and voice valid for three months. The price is incredibly cheap compared with Airtel, which started 4G services for the first time in India.  

Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani (fourth to left) talks with WestBengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after the inaugural session of BengalGlobal Business Summit in Kolkata, India, January 8, 2016./ Photographed by HaMan-joo

Ambani's announcement of such plan was made during the 'Media and Entertainment' seminar hosted by FICCI in Mumbai, March 30.

During the event, he said five mega-trends were emerging in the digital world: Shift in communications from the oral to visual, transition from linear to exponential, true convergence of telecom, entertainment and media, abundance of choice in every sphere and demonstrated potential transform human lives.

#Mukesh Ambani #Reliance Industries #Jio #soft launch #richest Indian 
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