In a sign that Reliance Jio Infocomm is inching closer to a formal launch, the company is readying to provide 4G SIMs this week, probably starting either on Monday or Tuesday.
The SIMs would be provided free to certain customers (buyers of its LYF and other 4G handsets) across the country, with a focus on metros.
RJio, the wireless arm of India’s largest private company Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), has begun shipping SIMs and Customers Application Forms (CAFs) to its outlets across the country.
“The company is now extending the testing of the services to certain customers, which could be a prelude for a commercial launch. The SIMs can be activated within four hours of a user submitting the CAFs, and on activation of the SIM, a customer can start using 4G services,” sources close to the development said.
However, it is not known as to how many customers the company will provide SIMs. The date for commercial launch is also not known. “For providing superior customer experience, Jio is currently testing its service offerings across the breadth of the country with group employees, partners and vendors who are among the first to test the true 4G network,” a RJio spokesperson said in reply to a query from BusinessLine .
In June 2015, RIL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani said that trials of RJio will be upgraded into commercial operations by December, while the financial year 2016-17 will be the first full year of commercial operations. In December 2015, the company launched the services for its employees. The SIMs would be provided through RIL’s retail chain, including Reliance Digital, Reliance Digital Express and Reliance Digital Express Mini, and also independent channel partners.
Last week, RJio informed the outlets of the SIM and CAF supplies, and provided training to its staff. However, the company did not inform the distributors of the tariff plans.
Earlier last week, analysts had said that RJio’s proposed launch of 4G services is likely to be pushed to December, as Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is proving to be more challenging than initially thought.
Subscriber market RJio has a near term addressable market of about 280 million subscribers (high-end 2G, 3G and wireless broadband users).