Data play

Reliance Jio versus conventional wisdom

After spending $25 billion to populate its pan-India 4G network with 100 million free users, Reliance now wants to charge them for it. It will be an uphill struggle


In the world of telecom, tariffs keep falling. Whether you’re paying for 100 minutes of voice calls or 10 GB of data, tariffs keep falling.

Unless you’re Reliance Jio. Because then, like a telecom operator version of Benjamin Button (the fictional character from F Scott Fitzgerald’s short story who ages in reverse), you’d spend between $20-25 billion to build a modern network, give it away free of cost to 100 million subscribers and then figure out how to charge them for it.

(An aside: it’s unprecedented in the global telecom world to see a new entrant enter a mature market and acquire…

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