Home / Industry / Telecom /  Jio ended India’s 2G data misery: Ambani

India was stuck with the “misery" of depending on 2G networks before the launch of Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, the telecom company, which is preparing to roll out 5G technology, said Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani on Thursday.

“Before Jio, India was stuck with 2G technology.... Jio wanted to end India’s data misery and unleash a digital revolution," Ambani said at the Digital Transformation World Series 2020 virtual event.

The telco did so by offering the lowest data tariffs in the world and free voice services, Ambani said. Reliance Jio, India’s largest telecom operator by market share, started operations in September 2016.

“While it took 25 years for the Indian telecom industry to build its 2G network, Jio built its 4G network in three years."

Ambani’s remarks underpin his earlier stated aim to make India “2G mukt" (2G-free). The chief of the country’s most valued company said in July some 300 million subscribers in India were trapped in 2G, limited by feature phones.

“Their (2G) feature phones, keep them excluded, even from the basic uses of internet at a time where both India and the rest of the world are standing at the doorsteps of 5G telephony," Ambani, the world’s fourth richest man, said at the time.

Rivals Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone Idea Ltd, however, do not subscribe to this idea as the majority of their customers are on the 2G network. But both have been reducing dependency on 2G amid stiff competition from Jio, which only offers 4G services and claims to be ready with 5G technology.

Currently, 51% of Airtel and 63% of Voda Idea customers are on 2G/3G network. As per industry body GSMA, 12-13% of users will continue to use 2G handsets till 2025.

At the RIL annual general meeting in July, Ambani said Reliance Jio was ready to introduce 5G technology as soon as spectrum was made available by the Centre. “We are preparing for rolling out 5G services across India," Ambani said on Thursday.

Ambani said Jio Platforms Ltd, RIL’s digital solutions subsidiary, has built significant capabilities in areas such as cloud and edge computing, data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain and internet of things (IoT). “Using these technologies, Jio Platforms is in the process of creating compelling solutions for multiple industry verticals and ecosystems spanning telecom, media and entertainment, new commerce, financial services, education, healthcare and agriculture," he said.

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