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Jio set-top box, JioFiber’s OTT bundling: Diwali comes early for consumers

Reliance Industry Chairman Mukesh Ambani made a slew of announcements at the group’s 42nd Annual General Meeting today that are bound to create disruption in the Television, OTT and Cinema space. 

Commencing his speech, Ambani remarked that it was “yet another year of robust and record performance. Reliance became India’s largest and most profitable company – both in public and private sectors.” 

Commenting on Jio’s performance, he informed, “Jio crossed the 340 million subscriber mark to remain the world’s fastest growing digital services company,” and added that it had become India’s largest telecom enterprise in terms of subscribers, revenues and profits. “Jio has truly become the Digital Gateway of India,” he affirmed. He further said that Jio is signing up more than 10 million new customers each month and that half-a-billion customers is now well within the group’s reach. 

Along with Reliance Retail, Jio now collectively contributes nearly 32 per cent to the consolidated EBITDA, up from 2 per cent five years ago. 

“As India is getting transformed into New India, Reliance will also transform itself into New Reliance,” Ambani said. He further said that the group had invested nearly Rs 3.5 lakh crore towards creating a state-of-the-art digital infrastructure across India, with the largest optical fiber footprint. “Recently, we have divested about Rs 1.17 lakh crore of hard infrastructure into separate infrastructure investment trusts or InvITs to better monetise and unlock value from these assets,” he added. 

In a move to give fillip to local cable operators (LCOs), Jio has been improving the infrastructure. Earlier this year, RIL had acquired controlling stakes in three leading cable MSOs – Hathway, DEN and GTPL, who have direct relationships with over 30,000 LCOs. Over the past months, the company has worked with these MSOs to upgrade their infrastructure, following which the LCO partners will now be able to offer the largest bouquet of High-Definition channels to customers. 

Going a step further, Ambani announced the Jio Set-Top Box, which will accept the broadcast cable TV signals from Jio’s LCO partners. 

Ambani also announced the launch date of JioFiber services on a commercial basis – September 5, 2019, the third anniversary of Jio’s launch. He further said that the JioFiber plans, which will be priced between Rs 700 and Rs 10,000 per month, will come bundled with subscriptions to most leading premium OTT applications. Moreover, JioFiber customers who opt for the annual plans, called Jio-Forever plans, will get an HD or 4K LED television and a 4K set-top box absolutely free. 

In another disruptive move that is bound to change the way people watch new movies, the Reliance Chairman announced that premium JioFiber customers will be able to watch movies in their living rooms the same day these movies are released in theatres. Called the Jio First-Day-First-Show, this service is slated to be launched in the middle of 2020.

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