Mukesh Ambani’s RIL plans to scale Jio, may inject Rs 60,000 crore

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Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is planning to inject around Rs 60,000 crore in its telecom business Reliance Jio to fast-track its broadband services and wireless expansion this year.

In addition to this, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd may also borrow as much as Rs 1 trillion, according to a Mint report. The company wants to fast-track its plan to scale up its capacity and coverage, which would require a further infusion of funds.

Jio’s average revenue per user (ARPU) stood at Rs 137 in the last quarter of 2017-18, it still remains better than that of Airtel and Idea cellular. Jio managed to add almost 9 million subscribers during the quarter.

The report further added that Jio is expected to launch its broadband business with a pricing strategy similar to that of its telecom arm, given its focus is on creating a new market.

JioFiber, the wired broadband arm, has started offering ultra-high-speed fibre to home (FTTH) broadband connections with 1.1 terabytes (TB) of free data at speeds of 100 megabits per second (mbps) in select markets in the country already.

At present, the firm claims more than 300,000 km of optical fibre network in the country and the company is expected to target over 100 million households across the country with the service.

In April, it secured about $500 million in debt from Japanese banks including Mizuho Bank, MUFG Bank, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC).

Jio is already on investment and acquisition spree. In April this year, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) signed a pact to acquire Saavn music app for $104 million in a cash and stock deal. It has also committed to investing around $180 million over three years in AI-based education platform Embibe.

The Mukesh Ambani-led group will merge Saavn with its music streaming product JioMusic. The merged entity has also become Unicorn with $1 billion in valuation.

Jio is also one of the bidders at RailTel to supply, installation, testing, commissioning, operation and maintenance of wi-fi services at newly covered stations. The firm has a plan to launch 1.5 million wi-fi hotspots across the country.

Jio, which aims to cover 99 per cent of India population under its network, has also kicked off pilot of its enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) services.

After Jio launch in Septemeber 2016, which claimed to have disrupted the telecom industry through its offers of free voice calls and cheap data tariffs, the company has turned profitable within 17 months of its operation.

Jio posted a net profit of Rs 504 crore compared with a loss of Rs 271 crore in the preceding quarter. Jio claims to have around 168 million subscribers.

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