In addition to telecom services Reliance Jio is looking to offer television channels on its fourth generation (4G) broadband network.

As part of the entertainment bouquet, the company is planning live TV and Video-on-Demand, with HD viewing experience. It also includes Catch-up TV, which eliminates the need for recording programmes.

Catch-up TV

The Catch-up TV comes with seven days of stored content for each channel complements the viewing experience and eliminates the need to remember to record your favourite show.

All of this is being showcased by Reliance Jio at Techfest, a technology festival being held at IIT, Mumbai. This includes live TV with 16 HD channels out of a total of 101 channels, and video on demand with 400 plus movies.

While Reliance Jio will eventually unfurl a plethora of services when they eventually launch, the showcase acts as a preview of the possibilities with services on cloud and healthcare.

Wi-fi network

Reliance Jio has also deployed Wi-Fi network at select locations in the IIT campus. Visitors will be able to experience benefit of high speed wireless connectivity for handheld devices (smartphones / tablets) over a blend of LTE and Wi-Fi networks.

The company is using the festival to trial some consumer ‘beta’ testing experience so as to improve the commercial product through the feedback they receive from customers.

Outlining the company’s strategy, Mathew Oommen, President, Strategy & Products, Reliance Jio, said that more than 78 per cent of Indian content comes from outside. “We must work towards shifting content to India. We should look at creating Health Exchanges to create affordable healthcare supported by broadband,” Oommen said while delivering the key note at the IIT fest.

However, it is not yet clear as to when the company will launch the services. Reliance Jio had won broadband spectrum in 2300 MHz band three years ago.

Over these three years, the company has tried to put together all the pieces required to launch high speed 4G broadband services using a mix of cable, Wi-Fi and mobile base stations.

The company has done multiple deals with rival players, including Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications for renting infrastructure capacity. It has also inked deals with content providers and has been in discussion with Internet firms, including Google.

Key challenge

But the spectrum band could be a key challenge for the company.

Compared to other frequency bands such as 800 MHz and 900 MHz, the 2300 MHz is considered to be inefficient in terms of coverage. Experts say that it would be difficult for any player to offer pan-India carpet network using 2300 MHz alone.

Hossein Moiin, Global EVP and Head of Technology and Innovation, Nokia Solutions and Networks, in a recent interview said, “On its own 2300 MHz may not be sufficient because the required density of network would need a big investment so you may want to back it with lower frequency on 2G, 3G and complimented with LTE.”

Therefore, it will be interesting to see whether Reliance Jio participates in the upcoming auction for spectrum in the 900 MHz band.

thomas.thomas@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on January 3, 2014)
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