Love It Or Hate It, You Got A Jio Number

With the entry of Reliance into telecom business. Jio became the primary ‘secondary’ number for majority of the customers. An Airtel customer got a new Jio number, a Vodafone user got a Jio number and an Idea user too got a Jio number – as their secondary mobile number.

Alok Jio. Sandeep Jio. Manisha Jio. Ibrahim Jio. Cherian Jio. Mummy Jio.

This is how my mobile phone address book looks like now. This did not look the same a year ago. And these are not just the six numbers that are saved in the contacts book of having a Reliance Jio connection, almost all of the 1000+ numbers I have in the contacts book, interestingly, have got a secondary number – that of Reliance Jio.

The Airtel user has a Jio number, the Vodafone one too has a Jio number and the decade-old Idea user also got a Jio number.

Dual SIM is not a new phenomenon in India, it’s almost a decade old and people used to have two SIMs in their dual-SIM handsets. So, what’s new here?

There’s paradigm shift we can see in the current pattern. Earlier, say two years back, there were around a dozen telecom operators in the country offering both postpaid and pre paid mobile services. Customers used to have one primary mobile number that they had acquired years ago and are happy with its services. This is the number they had shared with their friends, relatives and businesses. This used to be ‘the’ mobile number for them.

However, when dual SIM mobile phones came to the market, customers get a chance to carry two SIMs or two numbers with them. This need was generated when they found service offerings, primarily tariff plans, of some competiing operators offer more value for their money. For example, some tariff plans offer more talk time, more SMS etc for the same value compared to their ‘primary’ numbers.

India, predominantly a pre-paid market with more than 95% of customers on this model, did not hesitate to acquire one more prepaid number or a secondary number. Reasson being, one can always check his usage patterns and money being spent on it.

However, these secondary numbers were always from varied competing telecom operators. Say, an Airtel customer would acquire a secondary number from Vodafone, Idea, RCom or TTSL, and vice versa.

Things, however, changed with the entry of Reliance into telecom business. Jio became the primary ‘secondary’ number for majority of the customers. An Airtel customer got a new Jio number, a Vodafone user got a Jio number and an Idea user too got a Jio number – as their secondary mobile number.

And, this is not a hypothesis. Numbers speak volumes of the phenomenon.

Jio was launched in September 2016. By end of June 2018, means after 22 months, it has a user base of 215 million. Contrast that to Vodafone India’s total user base of 222 million and Idea Cellular’s 216 million. Airtel is sitting way ahead with over 300 million customers.

How Things Changed For Jio, And for Its Rivals

No doubt Jio’s services offering was a fairytale for customers – getting the service free for what you have been paying since time immemorial – voice services. No where in the world it is offered absolutely free. Customers grabbed the opportunity and stood in long queues to buy a Jio SIM. Besides making calling services free, Jio offered its customers a luxury service – data – at dirt cheap prices. Before its launch, mobile data in India was offered around Rs 250 per GB. The Mukesh Ambani-led firm brought it down to almost Rs 12/GB.

Within months, a data hungry country like India rose from the bottom of the table to become the world’s highest data consuming country.

In terms of data usage, Jio customers are miles away from their rivals. Its monthly data consumption has reached 240 crore GBs per month from 125 crore GBs per month a year back.

A Jio Number – Your Primary ‘Secondary’ Connection

Unlike the earlier pattern of carrying two SIMs where users use the secondary SIM or connection for specific purposes, in case of Jio, users use it as their primary number. They make most of the calls from theis number, watch sports, video or movies using its data. Their ‘primary’ number is their in the phone just for the sake of ‘not losing the old number’. This, too, is increasingly changing with users having their primary mobile number from a different operator getting ported to Jio.

Let’s check some numbers.

As per the company’s last AGM , customers on its network spend 530 crore minutes per day now compared to 250 crore minutes a day a year back – showing more than double growth. Video consumption has grown to 340 crore hours per month now from 165 crore hours a year back and customers are using their Jio number more than 290 minutes per day.

These numbers numb telecom statistics for a green field operator with just 22 months in to business.

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