Reliance Jio Infocomm Will Drive Innovation in Technology: Mukesh Ambani
Chairman of Reliance Industries Limited Mukesh Ambani
A week after Reliance Jio Infocomm Chairman Mukesh Ambani announced his ambitious foray into telecom at Reliance Industries AGM, he exuded confidence that the company would not lose money despite a Rs 2.5-lakh-crore investment and Jio's free voice and seemingly dirt-cheap data offerings.
In an interview to The Economic Times, Ambani said, "I can assure that we are not going to lose money. We are not looking to make a killing, but we are looking to make a high-teens return on our capital, which is 18-19 per cent return on our capital, over the investment period."
Speaking about his ambitions for Jio and what drove him to delve into the telecom industry he said, "Reliance Jio Infocomm is an Internet company at the bleeding edge of technology, not just a telecom operator, and will in time drive "waves" of innovation, including the Internet of Things, virtual reality and even driverless cars.” However, he said, the current focus was on stabilising the connectivity business, which saw an “overwhelming response” in the first few days since the official launch.
Hailing mobile internet as the future of the world, Ambani said there are no doubts that it is a life-changing, world-changing technology of this century. He also added that technology is a huge opportunity and those who took risks would reap rewards.
"I believe 50 years from now when you write history, one technology that would have changed human civilization is going to be the mobile internet. In 2011 it was hazy. In 2002, it was even hazier. But today, I have no doubts, the world has no doubts, that mobile internet is a life-changing, world-changing technology of this century. So, Jio is not really a telecom company. It is a tech company," he told The Times of India.
Confident of a bright future, Ambani said that Jio would enable India to be among the top 10 countries in broadband and internet access within the next few years.
In his speech at the Annual General Meeting of Reliance Industries earlier this month, Ambani had said that Jio is aiming at acquiring 100 million customers in the shortest possible time. Elaborating his plans, the Chairman said: "We are unhappy and we will not accept the present customer on-boarding experience. We are rolling out this week a new experience for all our customers starting with the metros and progressively going all across the country. We have created a capacity to take a 100 million customers. Now it depends on the customers. But I am confident that Jio will create history by reaching the milestone of 100 million customers in the shortest period in the world."
He also reached out to his competitors in the industry over reports that some Jio customers are facing problem in making calls to non-Jio networks.
"India is a very big country and no one company or one individual can do it. This is time for us to get together and to make sure that we deliver the vision of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving Digital India to 1.2 billion Indians. We have an opportunity to lead India into this digital world. I have the greatest respect for Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and all other operators who have connected the entire country," he said.
Ambani commercially launched the group's telecom venture — Jio — on September 1 offering voice free of cost for life, even while on roaming, besides offering data at around a fifth of industry rates. As per the company's welcome offer, the data will be free of cost for all subscribers till December end this year.
(Disclosure: News18.com is part of Network18 Media & Investment Limited which is owned by Reliance Industries Limited that also owns Reliance Jio)