After becoming the third largest telco in India in a very short timespan, Reliance Jio is now planning an full-scale assault on the home broadband sector with its debut nearing. The new initiative will be known as Jio GigaFiber and talk around town is that the pricing model will be as aggressive as the one that upended the telecom sector when it debuted in late 2015. The company recently demonstrated its GigaFiber capabilities at IMC 2018, however, the telco has still not revealed an estimated time of arrival for the service, even though it is being teased and tested since the beginning of 2018. Now, fresh news is that Sterlite Tech has entered into a partnership with the Mukesh Ambani-led firm and is doing a Proof of Concept (PoC) for its newly-unveiled fibre to the last mile solution with the telecom company.
Sterlite Tech partners with Reliance Jio for the Jio GigaFiber project
Sterlite Tech is an Indian company under Vedanta Resources and manufactures fibre but the company is now looking to foray into the lucrative telecom sector to provide integrated services to telcos. Anand Agarwal, group chief executive officer of Sterlite Tech commenting on the development told Economic Times, “We are looking beyond fibre. We now design end-to-end network solutions for fibre-to-the-home, fibre-to-the-enterprise, and fibre-to-the-small cells.” Reliance Jio was not available to comment on the new development.
The company intends to provide Operations Support Services (OSS) and Business Support Services (BSS) solutions to telecom companies. The Pune-based firm is now well-placed to provide these services, thanks to a merger with Elitecore Technologies in 2015, Sterlite Tech can partially compete with the likes multinationals such as Cisco, Amdocs, Ciena and Juniper Networks, and as well as Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia.
The partnership with Reliance Jio on FTTX or massive agile network transformation solutions is seen as a much-needed precipitate to fourth-generation (4G) technology and upcoming 5G roll-outs. Sterlite Tech is also running pilot programs for Bharti Airtel and recently-merged entity Vodafone Idea.
The fibre manufacturer has some big clients and a full order book which also includes a recently won Indian Navy’s INR 3,500-crore worth deal to design, build, operate and maintain the latter’s digital network. After Jio’s GigaFiber partnership, the company has almost doubled the fibre production capacity to 50 million route kilometre (rkm). Sterlite had reported a revenue of INR 3,244 crore for the fiscal ending on March 31, 2018.
Jio GigaFiber to benefit greatly from Sterlite Tech expertise in fibre manufacturing
The expertise of Sterlite Tech in fibre combined with the growing reach of Jio will be a catalyst for growth and a great deal for all parties concerned, commented analysts. In terms of wireline broadband penetration, there is huge potential for growth as India ranks 134th worldwide. Reliance Jio’s GigaFiber aims to reach 1,500 cities to connect more than 30 million merchants and small-and-medium businesses in addition to large corporations after its debut. The broadband industry is buoyed by the government’s ambitions to deploy 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots before the end of 2019 in the country.
Meanwhile, Jio’s GigaFiber is still in its beta stages which means that it is mostly being tested by personnel/staff of the company and we could hopefully see a roll-out in early 2019. Jio’s GigaFiber will probably have a head start in terms of reachability across India as it has invested in buying established players like Hathway and Den broadband connections. These local cable operators will place Jio GigaFiber much ahead of rival Airtel in the Direct to Home sector.