‘Rel Jio to Take on Com­peti­tors with Bet­ter Qual­ity of Ser­vice’

Peo­ple are will­ing to pay for con­nec­tiv­ity, says chief prod­uct of­fi­cer Deutschmann

The Economic Times - - Companies - Deepali.Gupta @times­group.com

Mum­bai: Re­liance Jio In­fo­comm will not fight com­peti­tors on the price front, but on qual­ity of ser­vice, a top com­pany ex­ec­u­tive said, as the Mukesh Am­bani-owned telco tried to de­flect talk of a cheaper of­fer­ing ahead of its im­pend­ing 4G ser­vices launch. “We are not say­ing we will lower the price, but we will cre­ate a bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence,” Rainer Deutschmann, chief prod­uct and in­no­va­tion of­fi­cer, told ET, adding that if cus­tomers want true 4G ex­pe­ri­ence, they would need de­vices built for it. “Peo­ple are will­ing to pay for con­nec­tiv­ity, but don't like to pay if they don't get an ex­pe­ri­ence.”

In his first me­dia in­ter­ac­tion since tak­ing on this role in 2014, the for­mer Deutsche Telekom ex­ec­u­tive said the data prices in In­dia are “al­ready at such a low level” com­pared with other mar­kets. His com­ment comes in the back­drop of fears that Jio’s en­try would trig­ger a fierce price bat­tle in the in­dus­try.

The com­pany's bil­lion­aire owner had said that Jio would of­fer data and voice ser­vices at half, or less than half the cur­rent mar­ket rates. The of­fer­ings, he had said, would in­clude instant mes­sag­ing, live TV, movies-on­de­mand, news, stream­ing mu­sic and a dig­i­tal pay­ments plat­form. Jio is po- sition­ing it­self as a dig­i­tal con­tent com­pany to make it dis­tinct from other mo­bile phone op­er­a­tors in an in­tensely com­pet­i­tive mar­ket. Con­tent-stream­ing pack­ages will be the key el­e­ment of this strat­egy.

But the de­lay in the launch of Jio’s ser­vices has meant that top op­er­a­tors such as Bharti Air­tel, Voda­fone In­dia and Idea Cel­lu­lar have not only ex­panded their 4G ser­vices across ge­ogra­phies but also low­ered data prices to re­tain and at­tract new users, nar­row­ing the scope for Jio to play the price game and churn users. Jio's plan com­prises bring­ing the ecosys­tem up to speed.

For that, it has tied up with sev­eral smart­phone ven­dors to launch 4G hand­sets which would sup­port the com­pany’s net­work, be­sides launch­ing own smart­phones un­der the LYF brand through sis­ter com­pany Re­liance Re­tail.

Talk­ing about qual­ity, Deutschmann show­cased how on Re­liance Jio’s net­work calls would tran­sit mo­bile data to WiFi ex­pe­ri­ence with­out drops. He fur­ther ex­plained that he was able to make un­in­ter­rupted video calls for his 31-km daily jour­ney through Mum­bai’s suburbs.

Analaysts, how­ever, re­minded that one needs to bear in mind that the net­work cur­rently is prac­ti­cally empty.

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