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After Jio, Mukesh Ambani is Set to Take on Internet, Video Streaming Giants

"Every phone in India will be a 4G-enabled phone and every customer will have access to 4G connectivity," he added

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Mukesh Ambani. Source-conclave.intoday.in

Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani who has disrupted the mobile telephony market with Reliance Jio, is set to take on Internet and video streaming giants like Google, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify.

According to an article in the winter 2019 issue of Foreign Policy magazine, “the second stage of Ambani’s plan is more ambitious” after creating a mega base of 28 crore Jio subscribers with ultra-cheap data plans and sending rival telecom operators into a tizzy.

“Jio’s real competitors aren’t local cellular providers, such as Airtel or Vodafone India; instead, insiders say Ambani has long had his eyes set on competing with Google, Netflix, Spotify, and Facebook,” read the article.

Jio services now include attractive lifestyle products — a streaming TV service with hundreds of channels, a digital payments system, a music library, a health care app, a connected home system, a messaging platform.

“Each of these could reach Jio’s growing customer base in a multitude of Indian languages,” the article added.

Reliance Jio Infocomm last week reported a 65 per cent increase in its standalone net profit for the October-December 2018 period.

Jio
Jio services now include attractive lifestyle products as well. (Wikimedia Commons)

Its standalone net profit stood at Rs 831 crore in the third quarter of the financial year 2018-19, against Rs 504 crore reported in October-December 2017-18.

“The journey of Jio has been truly remarkable and has surpassed all expectations.

“The Jio family is now 280 million strong and growing on one of the world’s largest mobile data networks, in line with our vision of connecting everyone and everything, everywhere — always at the highest quality and the most affordable price,” said Ambani.

For Jio, average data consumption per user per month was 10.8GB and average voice consumption was recorded at 794 minutes per user per month.

Video consumption drove most of the usage, increasing to 460 crore hours per month and this is the next growth area Ambani has firmly set his eyes on.

According to a latest survey by global digital content delivery platform Limelight Networks, Indian viewers are now watching online video content for an average of eight hours 28 minutes each week, more than the time they spend viewing TV every week.

Mukesh Ambani.

The amount of time Indian viewers spend watching online videos is far higher than the global average of six hours and 45 minutes each week in 2018 which itself marks a 58 per cent rise from the 2016 figure.

Through online channels, Indian viewers largely watch movies, followed by news, TV shows and sports.

Asserting that the data is the “new oil and wealth” in the new world, Mukesh Ambani in his speech at the India Mobile Congress last October said that Reliance Jio’s broadband offering can place the country among the top three nations in fixed broadband from a low rank of 135 currently.

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Mukesh Ambani said that India can be transformed when people get “Pehla TV, pehla camera, pehla Internet and pehla Artificial Intelligence (AI) — at just Rs 100 per month”.

“Every phone in India will be a 4G-enabled phone and every customer will have access to 4G connectivity,” he added. (IANS)

Next Story

Lack of Internet Access Hobbling West Virginians

In the town of Hinton, a 30-minute drive from Sprouting Farms, connectivity is not an issue

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Internet, West Virginians, Sprouting Farms
Hand-picked organic kale is washed and packed on site at Sprouting Farms, W.V., ready for distribution. (J. Taboh/VOA). VOA

Work starts early at Sprouting Farms in Summers County, West Virginia.

Employees in this rural region of the state handpick the organic produce, rinse, prepare and box it up on site, ready to distribute to area customers.

Connectivity is key

The farm also serves as a training center for aspiring farmers who want to learn how to grow — and market — sustainable produce.

Internet, West Virginians, Sprouting Farms
The hills and valleys of West Virginia make it difficult to run fiber optic cable. VOA

The challenge is making that process profitable, says project director Fritz Boettner.

“Our bottom line, everything that we do here, is to make farming a profitable business for every farmer, not just on this farm, but every farmer in the state,” he says. “So in order to improve the bottom line for the farmer, we have to keep what I would call the food hub costs down. So that’s the cost of aggregation, distribution, marketing, all those things.”

And that, he adds, takes broadband connectivity, which is limited or unavailable in rural areas such as this.

“Right now I would say half of our farmers maybe do not have access to solid internet or even cellphone communication to make these types of transactions happen,” he says.

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And while there is fiber-optic cable available nearby, it would cost Boettner $500 a month, plus a $3,000 installation fee, to access it — a price, he says, that’s simply too expensive for small businesses like his.

“It’s just frustrating to know that very high-speed internet exists right down the road at a public school, and it can’t find its way here,” he says. “And I’m sure in West Virginia, in these small rural towns like this, it’s like this everywhere.”

The magic of broadband

In the town of Hinton, a 30-minute drive from Sprouting Farms, connectivity is not an issue.

Internet, West Virginians, Sprouting Farms
The town of Hinton, West Virginia has a number of flourishing businesses, thanks to high-speed internet connectivity. VOA

Once a thriving railroad community, the town now depends on high-speed internet to connect with the outside world.

Ken Allman, who owns several businesses in the area, says his main online business venture,which connects hospitals and physicians around the world, would not exist without that access.

“The fact that our team of people in Hinton, West Virginia, are working with people in Mumbai, India, or in Tel Aviv, Israel, to solve problems in our field across the U.S. speaks to the magic of what broadband and mobile can do in a small community,” he says.

Fiber of the community

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The town is a perfect example of adaptation.

“Hinton wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the railroad in the 1870s,” Allman says. “The railroad was the broadband of the time. It brought the mail, it brought the people, it brought the cargo. It was the broadband of the time.”

Now broadband is the fiber-optic cable that runs through the community and makes commerce possible.

“It’s very difficult to operate a business without reliable broadband,” Allman says. “We require it to support our back office functions, as well as the services we deliver to our clients. … We also need mobile to support our people while they’re trying to do their jobs.

Internet, West Virginians, Sprouting Farms
Organic kale is hand picked, washed and packed on site at Sprouting Farms, West Virginia, for retail and wholesale. VOA

“It’s very difficult to operate a business without reliable broadband, without reliable mobile communications as well,” he says. “The two really complement each other, and you need them in order to function on a day-to-day basis.”

An essential part of modern life

Joe Brouse agrees.

As executive director of the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, his job is to help stimulate and promote economic development in the region.

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But he says lack of connectivity is hindering that objective.

“This problem with coverage is affecting everyone,” he says. “I mean, it’s an ecosystem. You have to have businesses, they have to have employees, employees have to have places to live, and parents have to have good schools for their children. Part of being a good school in this day and age is having access to broadband.

“So businesses expect it. Households expect it. If people want to live here, they need to have access. It’s an aspect of being in the modern world.”

Hills and valleys

Internet, West Virginians, Sprouting Farms
Sandstone Falls, West Virginia. VOA

The topography of the state and low population levels are among the reasons why affordable broadband is lacking, he says.

“Population, customers, are figured into models of profitability.”

But he remains hopeful.

“Our economic development agency works with the state of West Virginia, with our congressional offices who have been leaders on this issue, as well as other public development agencies, to look at creative solutions that might involve a mixture of grant and loan programs, to entities that can own the fiber [-optic cable] and help with the delivery system,” he says.

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“It’s a different model than just having the provider come in, but it’s a model that we can own, and it’s a model that will allow us to get there quicker,” he adds.

He points to the town of Hinton as an ideal model.

“By many standards, it’s a small place, but it’s actually ahead of the game in terms of providing broadband, and that’s the story we want to tell all over the state in rural Appalachia.”

That’s encouraging news for Fritz Boettner.

“If I’m thinking about the future, and we’re going to grow these farmers, and they’re going to be doing more, we want more farmers in the network. That connectivity issue needs to be dealt with.” (VOA)