Shouldn’t We Call It FReliance Jio?

Free service is fine but Jio needs to keep the momentum going, put the required service elements like QoS, customer service and incremental innovation in place to achieve what Mukesh Ambani put his over $30 billion for


No operator in the world has ever achieved what Reliance Jio achieved in such a short period. No other service provided could ever create such hype what RIL did for its new business unit. No company in the world could have created such hysteria what Jio did in India. Indians were never seen in the past thronging at the stores and queuing up since early in the morning to late in the evening just to grab a mobile SIM, what we are seeing in the Jio case.

And all this were achieved by playing around one of the most primitive psychological traits of human beings’ – to acquire something for free. When you are not going to loose anything, what’s the harm in getting something!

Reliance Jio played this trick very well, to such extent that it wouldn’t be an exaggeration if we call it FReliance Jio. For the time being, quantity mattered, quality can be tested later.

Reliance Jio Sunday claimed it acquired 16 million or 1.6 crore customers in the very first month of its operations which is a world record. In September, within just 26 days, Reliance Jio added 16 million new customers.

Its a world record in the sense that no operators in the globe including that of Facebook, WhatsApp or Skype even achieved this feat in such a short span.

“We are delighted and humbled by the overwhelming response across India to the Jio Welcome Offer. Jio is built to empower every Indian with the power of data. ” Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani said on Sunday.

The FReliance Stuff

This world record feat can be attributed to multiple factors but all the factors have one thing in common – the element of getting it ‘free’.

First, the Jio Welcome offer offered everything for free – voice, data, roaming, SMS and all the data related services like Jio TV, Jio Movies, Jio Music etc – for three months, till 31 December 2016. And in a country like India which has the slowest data speed in the Asia Pacific, according to Akamai, and one of the costliest data pricing, it was a no-brainer to expect people would throng to go for a free service. And if its 4G data, its like icing on the cake.

Second, the bundling of Jio offer with any 4G smartphone. The company partnered with almost every smartphone company operating in India to provide a Jio SIM free with every purchase of a new 4G device that is capable of VoLTE. VoLTE enables to make calls on LTE IP network or in simple terms, over the internet. If one does n’t have VoLTE enabled phone, the user can not make the ‘free’ calls over Jio network. Though it can be done through a specified mobile app created by Jio. As such, Indians were buying  millions of smartphones each month, and when they get free 4G data with these phones, it was sure to pick up steam. And it did.

Besides, the cost of 4G smartphone has gone down drastically in last 1 year. It is available for as low ass Rs 3000. Reliance Jio’s own brand of smartphones – LYF- that too with VoLTE costs just Rs 2,999. It worked in both ways. Some bought the 4G phone for the sake of buying a future ready smartphone and others bought the 4G phone just to grab the Jio SIM which would enable them to get free Jio services.

Third, the aggressive promotion of the Jio brand and its services. Months before the launch of Jio Welcome offer, staff at the nation wide Reliance Digital stores started persuading customers to download the Jio app. Upon downloading the app, Reliance Digital staff claimed, the customers would get a chance to acquire the Jio SIM. By that time, it was very well leaked to the market that Jio may come up with free voice services. This information prompted customers who were there in Reliance Digital to buy any product, did not hesitate to download the Jio app. And it went on adding more numbers to Reliance Jio services.

Fourth, activation of any mobile number was a task earlier when paper based CAF were used. Prospective mobile service seekers used to submit their identification details like address proof, identity proof etc for the activation. This was now eliminated through e-KYC. One just needs an Aadhaar number to get their SIM cards activated and it takes minutes to do this. Jio introduced Aadhaar-based paper-less Jio SIM activation across 3,100 cities and towns. This enables the customer to complete the SIM activation process in a matter of minutes, with only his/her Aadhaar number.

While all these factors helped the operator grab all the eye balls in the initial days, it will not be a cake walk for the big, fat telecom startup to walk the talk in the long run. It needs to keep the momentum going, put the required service elements like QoS, customer service and incremental innovation in place to achieve what Mukesh Ambani put his over $30 billion for.


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