Earlier this week, we noticed a new verified blue tick against the Twitter handle of @JioCare. The coveted sign confirms that @JioCare is the official customer support landing point for Jio, the telecom and digital ecosystem behemoth promoted by RIL, one of India's largest Fortune500 private company.
Jio had 2.59 million ‘test’ connections at the time of filing this report.
Interestingly this coveted verification sign is allowed to sit next to a Twitter ID only after a) the product or brand has launched officially, b) the handle has been tweeting for some months and c) it already has a minimum of 5-10,000 followers.
That Jio is a game changer is re-iterated from the views of top global analysts accessed by exchange4media.
As per Morgan Stanley estimates, Jio reported strong data usage of 26GB per user per month, nearly 40x the current industry average (top for operators) at 700MB. While Jio's share in overall MB's on the network during the recent quarter stood at 20% of the industry and has already exceeded that of Idea and is inching up to Airtel, gaining a significant 70% of the incremental data market share. Although free at present, this indicates the country’s potential data appetite and possible price elasticity.
According to Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia (CLSA), the 3G/4G penetration is still only 13%, implying large growth potential, and operators with relatively high capacities are best placed to benefit. While Bank of America Merrill Lynch stated that the incumbents cutting data rates will force Jio to launch at an even aggressive price. It also said that the proposed ‘unlimited voice’ offering can distinguish Jio from incumbents, which have 80% revenues from voice. Moreover, India could see a “capacity war” and not a “price war”. Jio could focus on offering more data at the same price rather than lowering ARPUs, as such a move would impact their return on investment.
Even experts at Jefferies, the globally renowned investment banking firm, believe that global trends point to 2G closure to free up scarce spectrum resources. According to them, in China, the launch of VoLTE heralded eventual retirement of both 2G and 3G – VoLTE equips 4G with voice capability, making 2G obsolete. At the same time, 4G is more advanced than 3G and Korea launched 4G 3.5 years ahead of China. Even the mobile data usage which was focused on web, apps, messaging and photo sharing in the 3G era, shifted to media streaming, video sharing and live chats in the 4G era, leading to data explosion. While South Korea Telecom’s data usage reached around 3.4 GB per month per user last year as against 0.75-1.2 GB for Chinese players.
Credit Suisse stated that the 355 minutes of voice usage per month by Jio users (even if free) is indicative of Jio being used as primary SIM by many. It further stated that Jio will be hitting the market with the largest network by capacity and the extension of Jio promo offer to Samsung phones is to be seen as a progression of the launch.
Moreover, Jio bundling with Samsung phones shows the company has gained more confidence on the service and also addresses the perception that bundling with LYF was mainly to push locked LYF inventory.
As per UBS estimates, India’s mobile data market is likely to grow 8x to Rs 213,300 crore by FY26.
Before @JioCare, a handle called @LYF_In was verified by Twitter some weeks back after the handsets by the same name were officially launched. Facebook too has a verified page @LYF. The first LYF TVC featured top cricketers and actor Kangana Ranaut. The new one, for a handset called Earth2, has actor Priyanka Chopra in it. LYF has models ranging from Rs2,999 to approximately Rs20,000. The Jio test SIM was first offered to RIL employees who could then recommend it to other people.
Jio did not give an official statement, at the time of filing this report.