‘Rel Jio to Take on Competitors with Better Quality of Service’
People are willing to pay for connectivity, says chief product officer Deutschmann
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.