According to a report by the Economic Times, Reliance Jio is setting itself up for the release of another market disrupting service. The report says that Reliance JioFiber is being prepared for launch by Diwali and the service is going to create big waves, just like its mobile counterpart thanks to the pricing strategy. Reportedly, the company could offer 100GB of broadband data at just Rs. 500 over the Reliance JioFiber network. Interestingly Relaince Jio’s twitter handle had tweeted in May that the Fiber to Home service was being tested under the JioFiber Preview Offer in six cities, but did not mention how people could get on the bandwagon. The Economic Times report cites people “familiar with Reliance Jio’s plans”
Unfortunately, this is not the first time news of Reliance Jio’s Fiber service is being floated. We’ve heard rumours since September last year that the company was testing out the service in various regions, with speeds up to 100mbps. In May, Reliance Jio’s twitter handle responded to a user query about Reliance JioFiber by tweeting “The JioFiber Preview Offer has currently being launched in select areas of Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Ahmedabad, Jamnagar, Surat and Vadodara. Our network is in the process of being rolled out to other cities.”
While Reliance may be testing out JioFiber in multiple cities, its rollout will only begin once the company is ready to do so. What we can be sure of, however, is that the broadband services are about to get some stiff competition from the disruptive pricing model that the company seems to follow so dearly. In anticipation of the launch of Reliance JioFiber, Airtel has already started bolstering their broadband offerings. First, they started to roll out Airtel V-Fiber to a wider service area, followed by increasing the data allotment for each plan. Recently, the company also announced that they’d offer 1000GB of free broadband data to users who qualified. While Airtel’s services are currently available at 40mbps in most service areas, but it is possible that Airtel will boost speeds once Reliance JioFiber starts rolling out. There are various other service providers such as ACT Fibernet and Excitel that offer fiber-to-home connections with speeds of 100mbps but none have the widespread reach that Airtel does.
It is hard to predict the exact impact Reliance JioFiber’s introduction would have for those who are using services offered by other broadband providers. While we can postulate that Reliance will offer more data for less money like they have with Jio, other service providers might not be compelled to drop their tariffs, but instead increase the monthly data cap of even the speed. For example, many users of Airtel broadband who were on the DSL plans (16mbps or below) could transition to Airtel V-Fiber (40mbps) without any change in tariff or data cap. Airtel later decided to revise the V-Fiber plans and make them slightly cheaper than their DSL plans, offering huge incentive to user to upgrade to V-Fiber. A few weeks ago, Airtel further decided to offer 1000GB of free data for the year to eligible customers, significantly driving down the per-GB cost of high-speed broadband. In some ways, even though Reliance JioFiber is not yet officially in the market, we can already sense the impact it will have on broadband in the coming months.