The Success Story of Jio

Although the richest Asian in the world, Mukesh Ambani said in 2018, “The idea of Jio was first seeded by my daughter, Isha, in 2011”, the real origin of Mukesh Ambani wanting to start a telecom company goes way back to 2002. The Reliance group first entered the telecom business with Reliance Infocomm in 2002, but then a cold war had begun between the brothers, Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani.

Three years later, unable to run the Reliance empire together, the brothers split up, ending a long business feud. It was their mother who divided the business between the two. While Mukesh Ambani got control over the exploration and production, petrochemicals, refineries and marketing under the name Reliance Industries, Anil Ambani got Reliance Energy, Reliance Infocomm, and Reliance Capital, and named his company Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (R-Adag).

In 2006 the brothers signed a contract saying the two will not venture into markets that the other is in but this contract was discontinued in 2010 for various reasons, which in turn allowed Mukesh Ambani to finally venture into the telecommunications market.

Two weeks later, RIL bought 95% stake in Infotel Broadband Services, the only company to have won the auction of broadband spectrum for pan-India, for USD 1 Billion.

In 2013, RIL renamed Infotel Broadband Services as Reliance Jio Infocomm, becoming the only company to have a pan-India broadband spectrum, which it later used to roll out 4G services. But it took Reliance about six years to launch commercial mobile network services. But once it commercially launched in September 2016, it took the market by storm.

When Mukesh Ambani unveiled Jio in 2016, he announced Jio’s data, voice call and video call, and the many Jio applications, like JioTV, JioCinema, and JioMusic, among others, would be available for free till the end of the year, which was later, extended till March 2017.

Over the next three years, Reliance offered Jio services and 4G smartphones at extremely cheap prices, which resulted in Jio rising as the largest telecom operator with over 330 million subscribers in mid of 2019.

To expand its territories, between July 2016 and August 2019, Reliance acquired stakes in 18 companies in areas including artificial intelligence, media, entertainment, software simulation, logistics, and music streaming. During the ongoing pandemic he raised over USD 20 billion from global investors including tech giants like Facebook and Google.

Mukesh Ambani strategically transformed his telecom venture into a full-fledged digital tech platform, often compared to Jack Ma’s Alibaba in China. Unlike other Indian telecom giants, Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, Reliance never considered Jio as just a telecom venture.

Experts believe that this is just the beginning of the long and ambitious mission of Mukesh Ambani with Jio.

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