In one stroke Mukesh Ambani wiped off almost Rs.14,800 crores from the market shares of Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular on the day he announced the arrival of Reliance Jio. But it was expected. The Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) chairman took telecom war to a new level by offering free voice calls and zero roaming charges.
And if that is not enough, Ambani’s Jio is offering Rs.50 per GB data plans against the current average rate of Rs.250/GB charged by others.
Though Reliance Jio will be formally launched on September 5, it has already sent shockwaves down the telecom industry. Today, in the 45 minutes that Ambani took to announce Jio’s offerings the stocks of Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular nosedived. According to reports, Bharti Airtel shares came down to 8.99 per cent to hit a low of Rs.302 on BSE. At the same time, Idea’s shares tumbled 9.09 per cent to hit a 52-week low of Rs.85.
Ambani’s speech also had an impact on his brother, Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications, whose stocks came down to 6.49 per cent to Rs.50.40. With Jio, Mukesh Ambani is targeting 100 million customers in a very short time. He is offering ‘super-affordable’ handsets under the LYF brand starting at Rs.2999 and free data for the first four months.
Jio is also offering 10 different tariff plans starting at Rs.19 for a day.
“At present, Jio’s network covers 18,000 cities and two lakh villages. A set of apps that Jio offers will be free for active subscribers till December 2017,” Ambani said today. Airtel has already geared itself up for competition by announcing a special data scheme under which customers will get 1 GB of 3g/4G data at just Rs.51.