Wednesday, April 20, 2016

3 Mistakes of Reliance Jio


India's one of the largest conglomerate Reliance Industries had launched its 4G services under Jio brand among its employees in December last year. Since then Jio is working hard for commercial roll out and continuing their previous business strategy they keep all stuffs under wrap. Many speculated that Jio may be launched  after 90 days of soft launch, that is April is the time for Jio. But this did not happen yet.

If you see the media reports and analysis around you (including us) everyone is talking about how Jio can beat incumbents and how incumbents beat Jio or how Jio can disrupt Indian telecom. All stories are saying same thing more or less. I must say I am bored too to speculate Jio's launch and services. Let's talk about Jio's failed strategy.

Missed First Mover Advantages

Jio, being a greenfield telecom venture is taking more time to launch. Also under powered 4G ecosystem & VoLTE (which would be the voice platform for Jio) keeps them busy to make the commercial launch delayed.

Now entry of Jio was confimed back in 2010 when it bought out Infotel, pan India BWA winner. Every year Jio's launch is anticipated but does not happen.

2010-2016 - it has been a long time and Airtel began its 4G operations in 2012 and now present over 300+ markets. Though Jio missed the first mover advantage but initially Airtel's wait-n-watch policy to 4G gave Jio a second chance. But again Jio missed it. Thus incumbents (A-Vo-Id group) got their time to shuffle their 4G business. Idea and Airtel are expanding real fast while Vodafone is connecting its major markets with 4G/LTE.

Airtel, largest operator in the country also packed its bag with more spectrum acquiring Aircel and Videocon partially. With the upgraded spectrum bank Airtel is no longer at a position down to Jio, rather completely prepared for Jio's entry.

LYF smartphones can't be a part of lives of Young People:

As Jio preparing for 4G launch, Reliance Industries's digital retail arm, Reliance Digital has launched its own smmartphone brand - LYF.

In 2003 when Mukesh Ambani launched Reliance India Mobile, he came up with its own handsets at subsidized price with lots of free goodies. The strategy worked as RIM was a CDMA player. But LTE market is already like GSM in India, people are using their own handsets. Til now Airtel is offering reverse bundling with selected handsets like from Samsung.

LYF smartphones are made by Chinese OEMs like ZTE and some other little known companies like CK Telecom, packed with moderately good specs but priced not accordingly compared to what other handset makers are offering. LYF Earth 1 costs Rs 19500 approx. and Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 costs 9999/11999 but RN3 comes with way better specs. This is just an example. LeTV, Oppo, Vivo, Gionee - all have better speced and lowered priced devices which supports LTE on 800/1800 Mhz (FDD), on 2300 Mhz (TDD) as well as VoLTE and VoWiFi.

So why someone would buy LYF smartphones? Even if Jio packs amazing free goodies LYF smartphones will have few takers. Young geberation now don't buy phones for making calls, texting or internet surfing; smartphones are more than that.

And if Jio restricts the offer only with LYF smartphones, it will be a total disastrous plan for the company.

Update: In May Jio has started offering services to everyone via an invitation system. But there is a catch you need to buy a LYF phone from Reliance Digital. You will get unlimited everything for 90 days. But if you already bought a LYF phone, the offer is not applicable to you.

Flawed Media Strategy

From the very begining Jio started playing games with media. Atleast once in 2 weeks every newspaper talk about Jio. The whole media hype makes Jio like a upcoming god in Indian telecom. I believe that Jio intentionally did these to be in the limelight and to create a customer base who will jump into Jio once it is launched. However with this much of delay, and 4G options from other operators Jio fanboys are reducing in number.

Investors and shareholders of Reliance Industries are also made confident about Jio with these media reports.

Ultimately all are bullshit. Jio is yet to have proper media handler and as of now RIL mediapeople is handling it.

What they missed, Jio's digital services are actually tech thing and young people push these stuffs working. Many tech bloggers are frustrated as Jio doesn't offer a taste of Jio LTE/4G and other digital services.

Overall Jio is a mess, but as they are on beta mode of commercial launch they are now out of danger - DoT can't take steps to Jio. 
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