Reliance to soft launch 4G services this month

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Amid speculation over the actual date of the roll-out of Reliance Jio 4G telecom services , a top global financial services firm, UBS, said while soft launch was expected by the end of this month, the full commercial offering was expected by December.

“Contrary to market belief that Jio has started rolling out 4G SIMs commercially, our channel checks in Mumbai and Delhi suggest that although SIMs have been shipped to the retail outlets, they are not yet available for sale,” the consultancy said in a report.

“At present, Jio SIM cards are only available to Reliance employees, post its beta launch in December 2015. Our speed test on trial SIM cards in Reliance outlets indicate network speed of 18-20 Mbps versus Vodafone’s 4G speed of 8-10 Mbps.”

The report said Jio was expected to initially roll-out bundled 4G offering on a limited basis with LYF-branded devices — as also SIM sale on standalone basis — only in the second half of 2016, even as all the market leaders have already launched theirs.

Airtel was the first to launch 4G giving it a significant first-mover advantage with footprint in 15 circles, Idea started in 575 towns across its 10 circles, while Vodafone has a presence in five circles.
“We believe the delay in Jio launch has helped market leaders to strengthen their 4G offerings,” said the report, adding while also suggesting that the market may be overly concerned over Jio’s disruptive impact and ignoring rapid data growth in Indian mobile market. The report forecast the Indian data market to grow nine times to $38bn by 2026.

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