From ‘Monsoon Hungama’ to ‘Data the New Oil’—Reliance Remains Masterstroker of Indian Telecom

After a lot of ifs and buts on telecom policy, incoming and outgoing tariffs, the heydays of Indian telecom began post 2003 when Reliance Infocomm’s ‘Monsoon Hungama’ took the industry by storm as half-a-million people pan-India signed up for the scheme.

Just remembering those days when having a mobile phone used to be a luxury, Reliance Infocomm with its multimedia mobile phone with a connection for an upfront payment of only Rs 501, along with proof of identity and proof of residence made it quite easy for the layman to have a mobile phone.

Under the scheme, the company offered three monthly plan options on offer — Budget 149, Budget 249 and Dhirubhai Ambani Pioneer Offer (Dapo) and that was the beginning when the utmost need to have telecom connectivity was felt and many players ran to provide connectivity and take a pie out of the unexplored territory.

Now, quality of services and affordable data were turning out to be the utmost needs, and this was the time when history got repeated after Reliance Jio made its entry into the telecom picture and made ‘data the new oil’.

With free and cheaper data packages, Reliance Jio not only gave sleepless nights to incumbent players, but in a way, compelled them to re-strategize their revenue generating streams.

The telcos started investing heavily in their networks and looked for consolidation. It is the result of Reliance Jio today that from 16 players, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular, Aircel, Reliance Communications, Spice Comm, BPL Mobile, Tata Teleservices, Shyam Telelink, HFCL, MTNL, BSNL, S Tel, Swan Telecom, Telenor, in 2008, the industry is heading to see only four players in few days.

Just yesterday Tata Teleservices also announced its merger plans with Bharti Airtel. With the deal about 40 million customers would be added to Bharti Airtel’s subscribers base.

However, with the entry of Reliance Jio, the biggest beneficiary remains the consumers, as it not only pushed the incumbents to the wall for offering quality services but also compelled them to go frenzy with affordable data and voice calls.
The company’s top telco Bharti Airtel had said that it invested more in two years than what it had invested in 20 years in networks.

Whether it’s Reliance Infocomm or Reliance Jio, it is ‘Customers’ Reliance’ that would win in the long run. At one point, Reliance Infocomm shaped the telecom industry with Monsoon Hungama and now, Reliance Jio is reshaping the same industry.

And we can’t stop predicting that Reliance Jio would also play an instrumental role in bringing in the next round of tech revolution in the form of IoT, Smart Cities, 5G etc.

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