Mumbai: Reliance Jio, which is aggressively netting customers with free calls and data, on Monday said its customer-base has already crossed 72.4 million as of 31 December but did not commit itself to meet the 100-million target by March when its second round of promotional offers end.
“By 31 December, we had crossed 72.4 million customers and we are adding lakhs of new customers daily,” Reliance Jio strategy and planning head Anshuman Thakur told reporters while announcing the December quarter earnings of the parent Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL).
When asked how much of the new customers are port-in users, he said some of them are port-in numbers, but refused to quantify the same. He also parried a question on when the company will be a paid operator, saying the new year welcome offer is valid till 4 March. In the initial weeks of the launch Jio had been adding 5 lakh customers a day earlier which has ebbed a lot now.
RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani had set a 100-million target customers in the shortest possible time while announcing the launch early September. Thakur said the point of interconnect (PoI) has improved drastically still in some areas it is 15%, which is three time more than the ideal 5% of call drops.
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“We are constantly working on improving the connectivity,” he said, adding now the Jio network cover 90% of the geography. When asked about the debt level of Jio, Reliance Industries joint CFO V. Srikanth said the company has Rs49,000 crore of gross debt out of which Rs21,000 crore are for the spectrum payout. Srikanth said the Rs30,000 crore debt-raising is part of the additional Rs1 trillion investments into the digital space that Ambani had announced at the AGM.
Reliance Industries has already pumped in over Rs1.2 trillion into the telecom business. The company soon after the commercial launch in September had raised Rs15,000 crore through a rights issue and had last week announced another round of rights issue to the tune of Rs30,000 crore.