When we consider the Indian Scenario, the Internet is taking the country by storm and expanding exponentially. Out of many players in the country, Jio is one telecom operator which has captured the market and expanded its base to a whopping 186 million customers since its launch in September 2016. The operator has been able to make a profit in the very first year of operation. It is now planning in a big way to capture the rural Indian markets. Jio firmly believes that scope lies in rural India and wants to diversify and expand its operations covering these areas. This would enable it to increase its internet usage and 4 G enabled phone users.
With around 450 Million internet subscribers, Jio is one of the biggest mobile companies in the world. In spite of this, its overall penetration in the market stands at about 34%. Nearly 76% of this penetration is urban, which supports the decision of Jio to push towards rural India. The overall scenario depicts that internet penetration is only about 15 % in rural India. The company, in its annual report, has indicated that there is a wide gap which needs to be filled. Jio is ready to tap this huge opportunity and bring in at least 150 million households from rural India into internet usage.
As compared to Bharti Airtel’s 30%, the overall subscriber market of Jio stands at around 10%. It has been a trend in the recent years that Indian households have seen an upsurge in the income and transformation of these into affordable category. Thus, the demand for consumer goods as well as entertainment systems has also found an upward swing. This demands a parallel increase in the usage of internet service. These households, which were earlier devoid of internet users are the ones which represent the future for expansion of internet growth. This is the area on which Jio is concentrating and is trying to capitalize on the situation and grow.
It is further trying to focus on pushing 4G enabled feature phones into rural areas. The company says these phones are capable of bridging the digital divide by providing several data-driven functionalities. These phones even though costing around Rs 1500 comes free. As the upfront payment is treated as a refundable deposit in case the consumer returns the phone after 3 years of usage. However, there is a rider to it. In all such cases, a minimum recharge of Rs 49 or Rs 153 has to be made every month. The Rs 49 pack comes with 1 GB data every month. While the Rs 153 pack gives 1 GB data every day of the month.
With the smartphone penetration at 35% in the country out of which top 30 cities make up for 51 % of the market, Jio wants to enter into rural India with their phones and capture the market.