Reliance Jio 4G network which was launched in September last year, now has a subscriber base of 72.4 million. According to the company no other player in the world has added so many users in a short period of just 4 months, and has thus created a world record, even beating the likes of WhatsApp, Facbook, and Skype.
All of this has been possible due to the freebies under the various offers launched by Jio. However, Jio’s massive entry with free data and unlimited calls and SMS was restricted to some extent by the lack of PoI (Point of Interconnect) offered by the incumbent telecom operators.
It is worth noting that the leading telcos (Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea) were fined Rs. 3,050 crores in total by the telecom department for not providing sufficient PoI to Jio, and the same was upheld by the Attorney General of India.
Now that Jio has reached a subscriber base of 72.4 million, the telecom operator still maintains that it would added many more subscribers had the existing telcos not blocked the calls originating from its network.
“Because incumbents are not releasing sufficient PoIs, voice calls on Jio’s network get affected. Who knows what our numbers would have been if the (situation) of PoIs was better?” asked Anshuman Thakur, head of strategy and planning at Reliance Jio.
Jio Blames Airtel, But Airtel Has A Different Story
Jio maintains that the market leader was the worst offender in terms of providing sufficient PoI. According to Jio, 175 out of every 1,000 calls are failing between Jio and Airtel network even now. This is far outside the permitted 5 failed calls per every 1,000 calls (0.5%). Jio also mentioned that the situation has improved a lot with Vodafone and Idea having a call failure rate of 2-3%.
On the other hand, Airtel explains that it has provided Jio with 21,557 PoIs which is way more than what is requires (14,164 PoIs) for 100 million subscribers.
About 17,000 PoIs are dedicated to outgoing calls from Jio network, while Jio is yet to activate the rest of the PoIs.
“While, their free traffic has been a cause of tsunami of asymmetric traffic towards Airtel’s network, Jio itself has been slow in activating the PoIs provided to them for the reasons best known to them,” an Airtel spokesman explained.
Jio Denies Network Consolidation
It was being rumoured that Jio might merge its network with another telecom company, but the company has denied the same and mentioned that the company is focussing on “organic growth for now”.
“We have a quite a full plate. We need to deliver,” said Anshuman while responding to recent reports pointing to a possible Jio-Vodafone merger.
Jio Wants 100 Million Subscribers ASAP
Jio is planning to add 100 million subscribers to its 4G network at the earliest which many believe would be achieved by March end. Since its September launch, Jio has added an average of 6 lakh subscribers daily.
Jio has seen a “record breaking launch” and has connected millions of Indians to the internet.
“Its comprehensive ecosystem has enabled millions of Indians to lead a richer life through its offerings,” said Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, RIL.
As Jio is adding more and more subscribers each day, it needs to focus more on its quality of service. Even though, its data speed has increased over the past few months, it is still not upto the 4G standards across the globe.
Besides the issue of call failure (which Jio is working on), network coverage is also a big problem on the Jio network. Reliance Jio is planning to solve these issues by infusing another Rs. 30,000 crores, but we’ll see when its infrastructure gets improved. Stay tuned on ITN for more updates!