Asia’s richest person Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani doesn’t believe in doing things small. He only makes the announcements — and big ones at that — when the finished product or service or plan is ready to disrupt the status quo.
Even as he smoothed the way for his three kids to succeed him, wife Nita on the company’s Board in a thought-out succession plan announced yesterday during the 46th annual general meeting (AGM) of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), he also made it clear during his speech that the dash to be the country’s leading digital services player — and later, probably, the world — is far from over.
The announcements relating to JioAirFibre (the aim is to provide fixed-line type high-speed broadband to consumers), Jio Platforms and AI were just sneak-peaks of a path towards dominance.
According to a PTI report from New Delhi, which attempted to encapsulate the major takeaways from Ambani’s speech, Reliance Jio will launch its 5G home broadband service JioAirFiber on September 19, while the RIL Chairman also outlined aggressive plans for AI terming it the “most exciting frontier of growth” for Jio.
Other major takeaways from the Reliance Industries’ 46th AGM included announcement of Jio True5G Lab, where technology partners and enterprise customers can develop, test, and co-create multiple industry-specific solutions; and ‘Jio True5G Developer Platform’, a comprehensive platform combining 5G network, edge computing, and a spectrum of applications and services.
The RIL top honcho, according to the PTI report, said that JioAirFiber, a fixed wireless broadband offering, uses pan-India 5G network and advanced wireless technologies to bypass the need for last-mile fibre. In other words, it’s a 5G broadband service that doesn’t need wires.
While optical fibre can currently connect around 15,000 premises daily, JioAirFiber will supercharge the expansion with up to 150,000 connections per day, marking a 10-fold increase that expands the company’s addressable market over the next three years to over 200 million high-paying homes and premises.
“Today, I’m delighted to announce that JioAirFiber will launch on the auspicious occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi on 19th September, giving us another avenue for customer value and revenue growth in the untapped Indian home segment,” Ambani said.
According to him, the fixed mobile convergence will foster greater engagement and loyalty among Indian households, especially premium households where home broadband usage is growing the fastest.
“Our extensive optical fibre presence puts us in close proximity to over 200 million premises. Yet, providing physical last-mile connectivity is a painstaking process in most parts of our country. This leaves millions of potential customers without home broadband due to complexities and delays involved in extending optical fibre to their premises. This is where JioAirFiber, our fixed-wireless broadband offering, comes in,” Ambani said.
Akash Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Jio Infocomm, said the company is building a transformative platform that will change the way Indian enterprises, small businesses, and technology startups interact with the digital world.
Sharing a glimpse of the digital ecosystem that Jio True5G is looking to create in India, he announced the Jio True5G Developer Platform, which combines 5G network, edge computing, and a spectrum of applications and services.
“Jio True5G Developer Platform enables secure, quick deployment of 5G Edge compute and low-latency applications, enabling faster autonomous decisions, immersive experiences, and real-time Edge AI,” he said.
This accelerates innovation, improves time-to-market, and reduces cost. The ‘Jio True5G Lab’ is a facility designed to speed up industry transformation using Jio 5G. In this facility, technology partners and enterprise customers can develop, test, and co-create multiple industry-specific solutions. The inaugural Jio True5G Lab will be located at the Reliance Corporate Park, acting as the nerve centre for shaping India’s 5G future.
Mukesh Ambani spelt out “four exciting frontiers” for Jio’s growth, which provide the telco an opportunity for multi-fold revenue and EBITDA growth in the coming years.
These included consumer segment, powered by Jio 5G and Jio Bharat; home segment, turbo charged by Jio AirFiber; business segment, with its large untapped potential; and Jio Platforms’ opportunity for global expansion.
Jio Platforms is keen to lead efforts in developing India-specific AI models and AI-powered solutions across domains, delivering the benefit of this new-age technology to Indian citizens, businesses and government, Mukesh Ambani said promising “AI to everyone, everywhere”.
“I believe Jio Platforms is now ideally placed to offer these innovative platforms, services, and managed services to businesses outside the RIL Group, both in India and abroad. This represents yet another powerful driver of growth for both Jio connectivity and Jio Platforms,” Mukesh Ambani explained.
The company is “on track” to cover the entire country with the ultra high-speed 5G network by December this year, Ambani said terming Reliance Jio’s 5G services as the fastest-ever roll-out of this scale anywhere in the world.
Overall, Jio customer base has crossed 450 million. Its 5G network covers 96 per cent of towns and the company is on track to cover the entire country by December.
With over 50 million 5G customers, Jio is already leading in 5G adoption in India, Ambani said.
On the entertainment front Ambani said the businesses created a “huge disruption” last year, with JioCinema leading the way. For the first time, he added, IPL was streamed free on JioCinema. It created a global record with a staggering 45 crore viewers tuning in to the platform.
More people watched IPL on digital devices than on linear television, marking a tectonic shift in the way content is consumed in India. More than 12 crore people watched the IPL final, with a peak concurrency of 3.2 core, making it the most watched digital event globally, he exulted.
Meanwhile, Jio Dive, the AR/VR device, according to Ambani, has revolutionised sports viewing in India. It gives the feel of a stadium-like experience through 360-degree viewing from anywhere, any place.
JioCinema has now become India’s largest digital entertainment destination for blockbuster movies, OTT originals, the biggest reality shows, and exclusive content from leading global studios like HBO and NBCU.
“In short, JioCinema delivered industry-leading engagement metrics, registering strong growth in paid subscribers,” he said.
Ambani also dwelt on Network18, digital news platforms — Moneycontrol and Firstpost — and said they had performed well with the digital assets “setting new benchmarks globally”.
Meanwhile, a Reuters report Bengaluru stated yesterday that RIL appointed the three children of Chairman Mukesh Ambani as board directors at the oil-to-telecoms conglomerate, as the billionaire prepares to eventually hand over the reins.
Ambani, Asia’s richest person, has previously said his children Isha, Akash and Anant would have significant roles in the business and that Reliance was “in the process of effecting a momentous leadership transition”.
Ambani, who was re-appointed as chairman of the company for another five years in July, said yesterday his three children will work as one single team and will collaborate with other directors “to provide leadership to the Reliance group as a whole and guide the growth of all our diverse businesses”.
With a market value of more than $200 billion, Ambani’s business empire spans telecoms, retail, oil and gas and new energy.