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What does JIO mean for India?

by William Beel

In the last two decades, India has seen an internet revolution. That is unseen and unheard of in any other country in the world. More than 300 million poor Indians have gained access to the internet in the last decade. With a population of 1.4 billion, India’s digital growth. As well as economic growth, has been immense and the availability of cheap. And accessible internet has played a huge role in it. It is not only PAN India meaning spread across India but is also the first 4G network in the nation.

Fast and affordable Internet

Both Jio and Reliance Industries are synonymous with Mukesh Ambani. The infamous Indian billionaire holds the reins of the $125 billion company. His deep pockets meant that he could afford to invest upwards of $22.5 billion dollars. In this ambitious plan of his to build a 4G mobile network spread across India. And best of all a network which is both fast and cheap for the people and data-efficient for the company.

One of the biggest reasons Jio has gained so many customers is that upon its launch in 2015. It gave its users free access to 4G for an entire year. Since then, it has strived to give users as low rates as $1 a month and scales. It accordingly for every gigabyte of data used. Jio is not just a mobile network, but a complete online ecosystem. It also sells 4G smartphones in installments for a deposit of as little as 20$. This has proven to be the biggest game changer for millions of Indians, who couldn’t afford a 4G data plan let alone an expensive smartphone.

Jio has almost 450 million subscribers, making it not only the biggest mobile network in India but the whole planet. Considering its massive scale, Jio has been able to pour money into its 4G infrastructure, while still making healthy profits. Its competitors on the other hand have been forced to cut prices in order to compete with it. This has led to a 35% drop in industry revenue in the past 3 years, even though it’s an expanding market.

Impact on India

Jio has not just changed how internet access in India is supposed to look, it has rather created the blueprint for it. Since 2015 hundreds of millions of folks have gained access to the internet in rural India, it been a threefold increase in the number of users in the last five years and with a growth rate of 35% per year. Due to its low prices, it is estimated that an average user has gone from using 500MB data to 11GB data every month. This has certainly proven profitable for companies like Google whose subsidiary YouTube has become the fastest-growing market, thanks to hundreds of millions of new users in India.

As much as 80% of poor Indians are based in rural areas. The ease of internet access is a way to bridge the gap between urban and rural populations and create more economic opportunities for later. From the financial to entertainment sectors, hundreds of tech companies have sprung up in the Indian e-commerce market in the last few years. So, millions of Indians in rural areas represent both a giant pool of workforce and a massive source of revenue, just waiting to be tapped in by e-commerce companies.

It is only the start

For all its success, Jio still has a long way to go. Close to 700 million Indians have access to the internet and with each passing year, millions more are gaining access. This means a rich playing field for tech giants, both local and International like Google, Amazon, and Facebook. Many of whom have already invested billions in Jio so far. With complete confidence one can predict that it is just a beginning for Jio and as internet access expands in India so will Jio’s reach and profits.

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