Reliance Jio: A timeline charting out the journey of India’s most disruptive telco

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To say that Reliance Jio has shaken up India’s telecom sector is an understatement. Beyond making incumbent operators uncomfortable, it became a household name nearly at the time of launch itself.Reliance Jio started out by ‘beta-testing’ its 4G services for its one lakh-plus employees in December 2015. This was followed by preview plans that were pre-loaded on Reliance Digital’s LYF brand of phones. The user base was extended to the families of Reliance employees. Almost anyone could preview the Jio services if they had a compatible smartphone.

The launch of services
Reliance Jio’s real journey began on September 1, 2016, when chairman Mukesh Ambani announced the commercial roll out of services at the AGM.

To start with, it chose quite an unconventional (read controversial) path. Instead of offering competitive tariffs, the company chose to tempt users with freebies instead. Not surprisingly, the idea of an operator offering free voice calls, messages and mobile data was a trigger for mass hysteria.

As Reliance Jio completes a year, here’s a timeline of its journey which began on September 1, 2016 when chairman Mukesh Ambani announced its commercial roll out.

Industry response
What was equally unsurprising was how existing network operators reacted. The likes of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea Cellular quickly announced massive price cuts in their existing tariffs. Every move these operators would go on to make would be described as a ‘Reliance Jio effect’. The overall telecom space too has seen a shift in power, and consolidation became the buzzword. The biggest move has been made by Idea Cellular, which has agreed a merger with Vodafone.

While there have been a lot of ups for Jio, there have been quite a bumps along the way too. Jio has had to contend with massive demands, black marketers, drops in speeds, issues with PoIs with incumbent players, allegations of anti-competitive practices, and more. However, at the end of it all, it came down to consumers like you and me who have benefited the most.

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