Reliance Jio is here to stay: Airtel CEO

Reliance Jio has chosen to play in a certain way which is good and bold, and hopefully works for them, says Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal


Reliance Jio vowed to offer unlimited free voice and cheap data services to its customers. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint
Reliance Jio vowed to offer unlimited free voice and cheap data services to its customers. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint

New Delhi: Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd’s free services for both voice and data is unprecedented and difficult to compete with in an industry which has never seen such strategies before, said chief executive officer (CEO) at Bharti Airtel Ltd, Gopal Vittal in an interview to Mint on Tuesday.

Discussing the impact of Reliance Jio on Indian telecom industry, Vittal said,” They (Reliance Jio) are certainly here to stay. We will see more consolidation in the industry in future. The asymmetry in relative positions in terms of spectrum, investment, network and revenues of operators will lead to a change in conduct in terms of pricing.”

Relaince Jio, which launched its services on 5 September, vowed to offer unlimited free voice and cheap data services to its customers. The telecom companies have seen their data growth softening in the second quarter of this year indicating impact of RJio free welcome period offer expiring 31 December this year.

Responding to Jio’s free services, the telecom companies including market leader Bharti Airtel have introduced a number of lucrative tariff cuts and tweaked data packs. For Bharti, data volume growth has been positive but data realizations have dipped.

When asked if the way Jio is operating is sustainable, Vittal said, “it’s sustainable in the sense it will lead to revenues. They’ve chosen to play in a certain way which is good and bold, and hopefully works for them”,

Bharti Airtel Ltd’s quarterly profit fell by 4.9% for quarter ended September 2016 as the provider cut data tariffs to protect its market share in the face of competition from new entrant Reliance Jio.

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