Jio and the Digital Revolution in India

Reliance Jio Logo

Reliance JIO was launched in 2016 when the telecom industry in India was a completely different market than what it is today. There were a number of different players that had a sizable market share and mobile data was quite expensive.

Even though India had a decent telecom industry even back then, most of the general population was used to rationing their mobile internet usage and data-heavy services like video streaming were not popular in the country.

JIO’s plan was to introduce better end-to-end 4G connectivity and cheaper internet so they could capture the majority of an industry that was largely stagnating.

In the early days, JIO onboarded a huge number of users by offering free voice calling and 4G data to its users. It also introduced cheap smartphones to the market that allowed them to capture an even wider base of consumers in the country.

Within just four years since it started its operations, JIO currently holds the largest telecom market share in India, accounting for 32.1% of the total market.

A digital revolution

Analysts and industry experts have attributed the start of a digital revolution in India due to JIO’s policies. In 2016, it was estimated that there were 281.81 million mobile internet users in India. Today, the number is estimated to be close to 448.2 million in 2020 and 469.3 million in 2021.

Along with increasing the number of mobile internet users, JIO has also changed the way Indians use mobile data today with some of the major trends being:

  • Consumption of more data-heavy services like Netflix and Amazon Prime

    Most people were not streaming video on their smartphones when data used to be expensive in India. However, with data prices plummeting, streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime started becoming highly popular with the masses. Reacting to the growing audiences in India, most streaming services have started producing regional content on a regular basis too.

  • More sign-ups for online casinos and gaming services

    Fast and cheap mobile data also made online casino sites and gaming services to be more accessible to people. Since you need a reliable and fast internet connection to play these games, there wasn’t a large user base before the JIO revolution.

    Today, the online casino market in India is estimated to worth billions of rupees and is expected to witness steady growth for the next few years.

    A number of highly-rated online casinos have opened up their services to the booming Indian market, hoping to capture the majority of the market in the years to come.

  • A boom in online shopping

    It is estimated that the Indian online grocery market in itself is worth more than 3 billion dollars in 2020. Popular online shopping services like Amazon and Flipkart have also seen record sales over the last few years.

    A lot of the growth in the online shopping space has been driven by the increasing smartphone and internet penetration in the last couple of years, which was largely spearheaded by JIO’s policies.

The next stage

In 2020 so far, JIO has seen an investment of $6.1 billion from Facebook for a 9.99% stake, an investment of $790 million from Silver Lake Partners for a 1.15% stake, an investment of $4.7 billion from Google for a 7.7% stake and a number of other smaller investments.

With these strategic investments, it seems like that JIO is going to dominate the telecom industry in India for years to come.