Free internet? Every citizen asked this question as Mukesh Ambani took the country by a storm on September 1, 2016, when he announced Reliance Jio for Indians in his speech at the 42nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). At that time, even the experts marked it ‘too ambitious’. Jump to 2020 and it will not be an understatement to say that Jio has single-handedly demolished the threshold of Indian economic growth. But, how?
Connecting People with Internet
Reliance Jio transformed the internet from a privileged good to a basic necessity by breaking the monopoly war between Airtel and Vodafone. The initial three months without any charges followed by cheap data packs enabled the rural population to connect with entertainment, education, and their loved ones across the country. Furthermore, Jio’s diversification allowed Reliance to present Indian rural regions with their own version of Flipkart and Amazon – JioMart.
According to a report by Institute for Competitiveness, Jio’s market entry helped customers save Rs 60,000 crores annually. Along with this, ‘digitized’ rural areas caused a consumer influx in the market. Online courses, job portals, ticket bookings, and grocery stores became widely accepted due to the ability to transfer money through digital wallets across the country. Simply said – A 10% increase in internet penetration, owing to Jio, caused a 3.9% increase in per capita GDP.
Between 2019 and 2020, Reliance Industries became net debt-free by attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) worth Rs 1,52,000 crore. This number equates to 40.6% of India’s FDI inflow in FY2020. It is interesting to note that the entire amount has been raised by selling merely 33% stakes in Jio Platforms to leading technological giants such as Facebook, Google, KKR, Vista, Mubadla, Silver Lake, etc.
In these times where data privacy, easy accessibility, and low cost are premier concerns, only an indigenous player could have truly unlocked India’s economic growth potential. With Reliance Jio at the forefront of internet and telecommunications, the goal of every citizen contributing to the economy looks achievable.