After a year in which it has shaken up the telecom sector with cheap data and free voice calling, Reliance Jio may hike tariffs in 2018, according to a report.
OpenSignal, a London-based firm which specialises in crowdsourced wireless coverage mapping all over the world, said that although Jio’s entry into the market resulted in data prices becoming much cheaper – which resulted in increased number of 4G consumers – it doubts whether Jio will be able to retain its position at the helm.
"The trend will continue next year. Whether Jio remains a huge dominant driver in 4G growth remains to be seen. After a year of free and steeply discounted data pricing, Jio may make 2018 the year it raises prices. That could level the playing field for India's operators," said Andrea Toth from OpenSignal.
Since its launch in September 2016, Jio has triggered a bitter price war with the existing players in the market. With Jio’s highly disruptive entry, all the telco players saw a sharp decrease in revenues and had to drastically change their strategy and product mix in order to find other ways of generating revenues. Such was Jio’s impact that voice and SMS services, which once generated a lion’s share of revenue for telcos, are now being offered as freebies.
With data priced at ‘next to nothing’ on launch, Jio's customer base grew at a dizzying pace. Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Industries, added a customer base of about 16 million in the first month of its launch. The company crossed 50 million subscriber mark in 83 days of its launch, becoming the fastest company ever to do so.
"Jio's widespread 4G access, along with its at-first free and later heavily discounted data and voice plans, quickly won the hearts — and wallets — of more than 100 million mobile users across the country," Toth added.
Jio not only made 4G VoLTE a household name but also helped transform India's image of a country struggling to develop 4G VoLTE technology to one of the top countries in terms of 4G VoLTE connectivity and reach and the fastest growing mobile market in the world.Disclosure: Reliance Industries, which owns Reliance Jio, also owns Network18, which publishes Moneycontrol.com.