Reliance group’s chairman, managing director and India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani recently spoke about his “most ambitious venture” and constant obsession- technology. Talking about his latest entry into the telecom sector, Jio which has taken the entire industry by storm he said, “We saw mobile internet as the winning horse before anybody else did. The mobile internet has won the world over. Companies that had bet on mobile internet have created the largest value in the last 10 years. So, Jio is not really a telecom company. It is a tech company.”
Speaking about the condition of internet services in India, he said that it is unacceptable for a country to have 1.2 billion population and still rank 155th in the world out of the 230 countries in broadband and mobile internet access. He said, “We have to change this. Just as, for a country of 1.2 billion, it is not acceptable that we win only two Olympic medals. For us and the next generation, this has to be unacceptable. The important thing is to figure out what we can do to correct the situation today. Jio will enable India to be among the top 10 countries in broadband and internet access within the next few years.”
When asked about the allegation of acquiring the entire telecom market and the decision to “knowingly” push back the launch dates of Jio he said, “We were not pushing it back. What we were really doing was putting the whole eco-system together. There were multiple moving variables and we had to feel comfortable of the outcomes. I have been using the service for the last two years and we had our employees using it since December 27 last year. The numbers went up from a few thousands to tens of thousands and to a few lakhs and then we added a few more lakhs in June and again in July.
We also needed the 850 MHz spectrum, which we got only in end of July. It took us a few weeks to optimize the spectrum. That gave us flawless indoor coverage across the cities.”
Also replying to the speculations about inter connectivity issues where people are finding it difficult to make calls to non-jio customers, he hinted at a “possible negotiation” and said, “This is time for us to get together and to make sure that we deliver the vision of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving Digital India to 1.2 billion Indians. We have an opportunity to lead India into this digital world. I have the greatest respect for Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and all other operators who have connected the entire country. But the old telecom industry is used to using incumbent power, and this happens across the world. But I think these tactics don’t work anymore. A Jio user will figure out that nothing is wrong with the service. I am going to take a full review, this will be more in terms of saying that the customer will soon start questioning if the incumbents are anti-consumer.”
Answering a few lighter questions, he said that it is up for his children to decide their passions and do whatever they want to do. “The good thing about children is that they can tell you, “Dad, you don’t get it!”