Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani on Friday met Telecom Secretary JS Deepak to discuss rollout plans of his telecom venture Reliance Jio. “The meeting lasted over oneand-a-half hours with the secretary,” a person familiar with the matter told. In trial phase alone Reliance Jio 4G has garnered 1.5 million users.
The RIL Chairman, who was accompanied by his son Akash Ambani at the meeting, is also learnt to have discussed the company’s position on the standoff relating to points of interconnect with the existing cellular networks. Reliance Jio has also shot off a letter to Trai, calling for action against dominant players, including Airtel, for denying it inter-connection in “breach” of the licence agreement.
India’s top carriers, through the Cellular Operators Association of India, have alleged that Jio is running full-fledged commercial services in the guise of trials and is trying to poach their subscribers.
RJio countered by saying it was following all the rules and alleged that there was an attempt to “sabotage” its entry by denying it adequate interconnection points.
RJio has submitted to Trai that it will need 12,727 network interconnection for mobile services and 3068 points for STD call facility before commercial launch of its services.
Another point of conflict has emerged with Jio said to be expanding its target subscriber base by extending a three-month free voice and data offer to enterprises across India under the trial run. Besides, it has tied up to bundle its SIM cards with about 20 more smartphone brands.
Both moves prompted incumbent telcos, which have accused Jio of violating predatory pricing rules, to seek the intervention of the Department of Telecommunications and the regulator.
RJio has started reaching out to big and small companies to offer free SIMs with 90-day validity to holders of 4G phones of any brand, according to people familiar with the development. A Jio employee said the offer, aimed at expanding the target user base, will be rolled out for the larger general population over a period of time.
Currently, Jio’s free package is available to those who buy Reliance Retail’s LYF devices and users of certain 4G Samsung smartphones.