Reliance Jio finally launched its next generation 4G services on Sunday, albeit only for its employees, after postponing the network services launch across the country for a while.
Jio, which will be rolled out for consumers in March 2016, will use a technology called VoLTE or voice over LTE (long-term evolution) that offers faster internet speeds and better voice quality on calls among other things.
However, Jio will be launched along with an array of services and its brand of smartphones called ‘Lyf’ in an attempt to build an Apple-like ecosystem around its services.
Here is what we know of Reliance’s plans so far:
Spectrum: Jio Infocomm is in possession of 2300 Mhz spectrum across the country, 800 Mhz spectrum in 10 circles and 1800 MHz spectrum in six circles. The company has made a total investment of Rs. 34,000 crores.
Coverage plans: Jio’s network is currently present in 29 states of India and also covers 18,000 towns and cities across the nation. The company aims to cover 80% of India’s population by the year-end and plans to have complete national coverage within the next 3 years.
To this end, 250,000 km of fibre has been deployed throughout the country, with plans twice this length being laid out over the next 3 years.
“By April of next year, we would have connected over 1 million homes via fibre with a capability of rapidly scaling up in the top 50 cities of India,” mentioned the company in its 41st annual general meeting (AGM). The company is expected to price plans at the Rs. 500 mark.
Smartphones and its own brand: Jio is not only planning to offer its consumers aggressive plans but also cheaper smartphones. According to an announcement made during this year’s AGM, the company will sell its new smartphone brand called ‘Lyf’.
The LYF phone series is expected to feature dual-SIM card slots, VoLTE, voice over Wi-Fi, and HD voice and video calling capabilities. These phones will be priced between Rs 4,000 and Rs 25,000, and will be available at multi-brand outlets, as well as Reliance Retail stores.
However, Reliance will not manufacture these handsets but will procure them from OEMs like Micromax, Lava, Karbonn, and has already signed a deal with Intex. As a part of this deal, Intex will manufacture one lakh handsets, of which around 20,000 will be delivered in the first batch.
Services galore : In trying to build up the ecosystem and to attract more consumers, Jio promises plenty of services to choose from. Here are the initial few that have been made public so far --
Reliance’s answer to present-day instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Viber, Skype and Hike, Jio Chat will chat, place voice and video calls, allow conferences and share files including photos and videos. The app was launched this April and is available on Google Play and Apple’s App Store.
This is Reliance’s phone changing application. If you want to switch platforms quickly (moving from Android to iOS or Windows), this app will let you switch between different phones running operating systems with just a few touches. It can also copy your contacts, messages, photos, music, media, and applications without any hassle.
Currently, no network operator offers cloud service for storage. Jio though will let users store, sync and share content between their devices. Users can also invite their friends to view files.
India is big on entertainment and is always ready to spend. Jio Play, a live streaming service, will let subscribers watch a variety of channels from anywhere and on any device on HD TV. This is an on-demand app that will bring a multitude of Bollywood, Hollywood, and regional content to one’s 4G device.
Comparable to Airtel’s Wynk, Jio Beats is a personalised music streaming service with hundreds of songs and playlists in its library. It will also have offline playback functionality.
For avid readers, a Magzter like service is also being introduced. The app will let subscribers access popular magazines, along with undisclosed innovative features. Jio Mags will also let users read both old and latest issues of magazines.
Finally, the service also caters to news buffs. The news app will track latest developments and breaking news from leading publishers across various subjects and regional languages. Besides online newsfeeds, the app will let one read when offline as well.