Asia’s richest man offers free TVs in Indian broadband blitz

Three years ago Mukesh Ambani's Jio network entered the mobile market, triggering a brutal price war. Now he has his sights set
Three years ago Mukesh Ambani’s Jio network entered the mobile market, triggering a brutal price war. Now he has his sights set on broadband

Having already turned India’s mobile market upside down, Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani has now set his sights on broadband.

In 2016 Ambani’s Jio network entered the mobile telecoms market with free calls and ultra-cheap data, triggering a brutal price war and making Indian mobile data reportedly the cheapest in the world.

JioFiber, launched on Thursday, offers a minimum internet speed of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) from 699 rupees ($9.75) per month, around 35 to 45 percent lower than rivals, according to Indian media, going up to one gigabit per second.

“Currently, the average fixed-line broadband speed in India is 25 Mbps. Even in America, which is the most developed economy, it is around 90 Mbps,” Ambani’s Reliance Jio firm said.

Ambani, the world’s 13th richest person according to Forbes with a fortune of $50 billion, has also announced that customers will be able to watch films in their living rooms the day they come out in cinemas, irking film distributors.

In India, video-on-demand growth is explosive, according to researcher Boston Consulting Group which predicts the market could leap to $5 billion by 2023 from $500 million last year, according to Bloomberg.

Mukesh Ambani is also currently engaged in fierce competition with Amazon and Walmart in an ongoing race to dominate India’s e-commerce market.


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