“The price war in broadband has begun,” a Mumbai-based analyst tells The Ken, referring to Reliance Jio’s new tariffs for its broadband offering, Jio Fiber. The last time someone said this about what is now India’s leading telco, an entire industry was upended.

On 1 September, Jio announced announced The Indian Express Under the new JioFiber plans, the company is providing its customers with truly unlimited internet, symmetric speed and complimentary subscription to 12 OTT platforms (select plans). There is a one-time refundable fee that you will be required to pay at the time of getting the connection Read more  a revamped set of broadband plans. Tariffs began at Rs 399 ($5.4) per month, with a one-month free trial. But more importantly, the company is basing its business model around an integral part of people’s living rooms—the television. Not content with just ruling the broadband space, it intends to be the future of television in India as well.

Jio is offering a free set-top box and a remote along with the modem, which converts any regular TV into a smart one. Jio is also aggregating over-the-top (OTT) services which will be bundled with the connection. These include subscriptions for Netflix, Disney+Hotstar VIP, Amazon Prime, Zee5, and eight others. These OTT services, except Netflix, are also bundled into its catch-all app, JioTV+.

“They have brought down the effective price of the bandwidth significantly,” says the analyst, who wishes to stay anonymous as he is not authorised to speak to the media. “You [used to] pay around Rs 3,600 ($49) per month for all the [OTT] subscriptions put together. That has come down to Rs 1,500 ($20) [through the bundled Jio Fiber plans].”

Price war

Jio's biggest rival, Airtel, has been forced to bring prices down. Its cheapest plan, beginning at Rs 499, is still Rs 100 higher than Jio's. Airtel also has a similar setup with its XStream Box. It claims to offer 5000+ apps and 500+ channels to its subscribers

The grand lineup is meant to make sure there’s no repeat of its dismal first attempt to conquer the broadband space.

When Jio Fiber launched launched The Ken Reliance Jio Infocomm will reveal its cards vis-a-vis JioGigaFiber, a wired broadband service that has been in beta testing for over a year. Read more   in August 2019, it was brimming with ambition. It wanted to hit 36 million subscribers when the entire country’s fixed broadband subscriber base stood at 19 million.

AUTHOR

Pranav Balakrishnan

Pranav writes about the business of moving people and things around, i.e, mobility and e-commerce. Over the past two years, he has written about Ola, Tesla, Flipkart, Amazon, and the increasing role played by Reliance Industries in the Indian technology story. Pranav joined The Ken from Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, specialising in business journalism.

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