• The total broadband of Jio subscriber base currently is less than 20 million subscribers
  • Tariffs announced for JioFiber three months ago was more or less in line with prevailing market rates .

Unlike the big bang launch of Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd’s mobile broadband services three years ago.The jio tariff plans for its fixed broadband for services, under the JioFiber tag. They have been far more restrained on jio tariff. While tariffs for its mobile services were far below competition, the tariffs announced for JioFiber three months ago was more or less in line with prevailing market rates.

This is set to change, with the company reportedly offering a Rs351 monthly plan for fixed broadband services.

But a company official clarified that JioFiber offerings continue to start from Rs. 699 per month, adding that the Rs351 base cost is part of each of the plans announced three months ago. As such, there is no new lower-priced plan as of now. The confusion arose as a result of a Rs351 plan being filed with the regulator, although it must be noted that customers can buy only bundled offerings which start at Rs699 per month.

Note that the total broadband subscriber base in India currently is less than 20 million subscribers, and Jio’s target of reaching 20 million subscribers in the near-term, and 50 million subscribers eventually, has looked far too ambitious.

Unless tariffs are brought down meaningfully, analysts expect growth to be sluggish in the segment. Even so, Reliance Jio has done well to garner about 0.7 million subscribers for its fixed broadband services by end-September, according to data collated by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. Considering that competitor Bharti Airtel Ltd took years to reach its current subscriber base of 2.35 million in its home fixed broadband segment, Jio’s feat is commendable.

But to achieve its stated goal, tariffs would need to come down. There is also the matter of reach. Challenges with last-mile connectivity act as a constraint on growth. Taking broadband services to residences involve multiple approvals from authorities, such as municipal corporations and housing societies, which aren’t very easy to come by. Perhaps, Jio will be ready to offer lower tariffs when its reach, in terms of the number of homes it can connect to, reaches greater scale.