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JIO may hit 100 mn. target only by 2018

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s target of achieving more than 100 million customers for Reliance Jio in the shortest possible time may remain a distant dream as the country has only about 75 million fourth-generation-enabled handsets, of which more than half are owned by subscribers of Bharti Airtel, Idea and Vodafone.

With sales of about 3-4 million 4G handsets a month, India is likely to have 150 million 4G handset users by March 2018 and Jio’s target of adding a million subscribers a day seems an uphill task.

“We have redesigned the Jio sign-up experience and made it 100% digital using an Aadhaar based eKYC process,” RIL chairman Mr. Ambani said during the company’s AGM.

“With this digital process, we will have a capacity to acquire a million customers a day,” Mr. Ambani added

Jio is now acquiring about five lakh subscribers a day and has a subscriber base of more than five million.

2018 realistic

 Moody’s Investors Service expects Jio to achieve its 100 million subscriber target only by March 2018, while Morgan Stanley believes that Jio could have up to 40 million subscribers by end of the current fiscal year.

Market leader Bharti Airtel has so far not been able to convert five per cent of its total 251 million-odd subscribers or 12.5 million to migrate to 4G platform.

“Most of the 4G handsets are coming with dual sim slots and most people signing for Jio are customers opting for freebies without giving up their actual Airtel or Vodafone connection,” a telecom analyst who didn’t want to be named said.

“The real test of Jio on adding subscribers will be seen after they start charging for services,” the analyst added.

Moody’s senior research officer Vikas Halan didn’t expect Reliance Jio to be EBIT positive before 2020 as the success of Jio depends on increased penetration of 4G devices and change in data consumption patterns in the country.

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