Reliance Jio has informed the media that there will be some announcement from the company today. We expect it to be significant. Had it not been significant, the expected announcement would not have come directly from RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani. An official statement would have worked.
The senior Ambani is slated to deliver a video speech at 1.30 PM today and it will be broadcast over the company’s various social media platforms including YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
Ever since Reliance Jio entered in to the Indian telecom space, every announcement by the company created ripples in the industry, and had ripple effect among its competitors. From the very announcement of its re-entry to telecom business to commencement of its services, from opting to offer 4G-only services to offer voice calls for free till life, it has impacted the telecom industry in a big way. So, the today’s announcement is awaited with bated breath.
So, what could Mukesh Ambani announce on behalf of Reliance Jio?
One can say, Jio has already made all unexpected announcements – free voice calls, dirt cheap data price, and world’s cheapest VoLTE enabled 4G phone – at Rs 2,999, then what can be expected more?
LYF Easy 4G Feature Phone
Well, he may announce the LYF 4G feature phone. TeleAnalysis had broke the story that Jio is planning to bring a 4G feature phone, could be named LYF Easy, and will price it below Rs 1500. This could be one announcement today. Mukesh Ambani had always maintained that his company’s goal is to reach out to the masses of the country, and an affordable 4G feature phone could enable him to achieve that.
The objective of bringing 4G feature phones is to offer VoLTE capability in the low-cost phones. These phones will have VoLTE capability so that the users can make free voice calls, the main priority of that kind of user, and the most lucrative offer from Jio.
In India feature phones still contribute close to 70% of phone sales and the price starts from Rs 500 and goes upto Rs 4000. However, 80% of the feature phones of below Rs 2000 are not capable of anything beyond voice calls and text messages. The biggest deterrent for data consumption is the lack of an access device, and affordability is the prime reason why 70% of Indians still buying feature phones. With the launch of features phones that are 4G compatible can surely change the dynamics of data business for operators.
The other announcement could be a payments bank. Though the company already has Jio Money as its mobile wallet, and has been there since launch of its commercial announcement, RIL has never promoted this as a wallet. However, in the wake of demonetization, RIL may think promoting and making Jio Money available to masses is prudent, besides laucnhing the payments bank.
A Payments bank is similar to a traditional bank but the services are being offered by companies other than the banks. Almost all banking services are available in a payments bank except the credit facility.
In August last year the Reserve Bank of India gave licenses to 11 companies to offer conventional banking service. These licenses are called Payments Bank license.
The companies who were issued payment bank license include: Aditya Birla Nuvo, Airtel M Commerce Services, Cholamandalam Distribution Services, Department of Posts (DoP), Fino PayTech, National Securities Depository, Reliance Industries, Dilip Shantilal Shanghvi, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Tech Mahindra and Vodafone m-pesa.
While other companies are planning to launch their respective payments banks, Airtel has started offering the services, though as a pilot, in Rajasthan. And in just two days, Airtel payments bank acquired more than 10,000 customers.
Obviously, Mukesh Ambani has not invested two lakh crore in a company just to offer free voice calls. He needs money too! The other expected announcement could be around its enterprise offerings. When he had announced the official launch of Reliance Jio on 1 September, he had hinted about some enterprise solution but did not offer a clear picture. At present, infrastructure wise, Reliance Jio perhaps got the most robust network, including, wireless, wireline and fiber, and undersea cable network. He had partnered with almost every other telecom operator in the country to share their infrastructure. Perhaps, its the time to exploit the same and offer some future-proof enterprise solutions.