Reliance Jio, which has been the fastest in migrating 2G feature phone users to its 4G network with the 4G feature phone, has acquired around 50 million Jio Phone users since late 2017. The company’s Jio Phone, is the world’s leading VoLTE-supported KaiOS-based smart feature phone. It was launched at a price point of $20. Out of more than 100 million subscribers that Reliance Jio added since the Jio Phone launch in late 2017, the KaiOS powered 4G smart feature phone contributes close to half of those net additions, Counterpoint research said in its report.
The government met top officials of the struggling state-owned telco BSNL and asked them to consider all options including a revival plan, disinvestment, and even closure. BSNL is India's largest loss-making PSU with accumulated losses of Rs 31,287 crore at the end of FY18. BSNL chairman Anupam Shrivastava made a presentation to the telecom secretary, where he gave details about the company's financial health, its accumulated losses, the impact on business following the entry of Reliance Jio, and possible voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for employees. He also suggested monetization of the company's large land-bank assets worth Rs 15,000 crore.
Brookfield Asset Management, one of the world’s top infrastructure and private equity (PE) investors with $330 billion in assets, is in talks to buy a controlling stake in Reliance Jio’s telecom towers and fibre assets valued at over $15 billion (Rs 1.07 lakh crore), sources said. The deal is touted as the largest private equity deal, besides being one of the largest M&As in India. RIL is keen to cut down its Rs 3 lakh crore debt. Jio, which operates with a network of over 2.2 lakh towers, would demerge its tower and fibre business into two separate entities.
Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani on Thursday announced Rs 10,000-crore fresh investment in West Bengal over and above the Rs 28,000 crore investments pumped in so far. Most of the investments would be from Reliance Jio which will aim to cover 100% of the state's population, Ambani said at the inaugural session of Bengal Global Business Summit. He added that Reliance Retail operates over 500 Retail Stores and 46 Petro Retail Outlets spanning nearly 1 million square feet across 400 cities and towns of West Bengal.
Reliance Communication (RCom) has filed a plea before the NCLT seeking relief from a RBI circular issued in February 2008. Under the circular, 100% of the members of the committee of creditors have to accept the offer of debt resolution. RCom said its 37 lenders were unable to unanimously approve the wireless assets sale plan to Reliance Jio. The company said that though 95-97% of the lenders backed the asset monetization plan, it did not comply with the RBI rule. Under the IBC a minimum of 66% of the members endorsing a proposal is enough to clear the resolution plan.
Reliance Communications (RCom) voluntarily filed for Corporate Insolvency Resolution (CIRP), after a planned sale of tower, spectrum and fiber assets to Reliance Jio Infocomm was stalled. RCom has 270 days to approve a resolution plan or slip into liquidation. The move may prompt Reliance Jio to bargain harder with the committee of lenders of RCom since the value of the company will be severely impacted if it goes into liquidation. A top court in January had relaxed rules that prevented family members of the promoters from bidding for companies going through insolvency. RCom stock has plunged over 60% in 2018.
Telecom operator Bharti Airtel lost 5.7 crore mobile customers in December 2018, according to a company statement released on Thursday. Its mobile customer base in India at the end of December 2018 stood at 28.42 crore, just marginally ahead of Reliance Jio’s subscriber base of 28 crore. Airtel had 34.1 crore mobile customers at the end of November, according to TRAI report. Airtel, however, witnessed a rise in 4G customer base which stood at 7.71 crore at the end of the quarter.
Bharti Airtel Ltd posted a nearly 72% fall in quarterly profit on Thursday, its 11th straight profit decline on a year-on-year basis. Net profit for the three months ended December 2018 was Rs 86.2 crore as against a profit of Rs 306 crore in the year-earlier quarter. The company reported a one-off gain of Rs 1,414 crore during the quarter. Revenue rose about 1% to ₹20,519 crore. Earlier this month, Reliance Jio reported a 65% rise in quarterly profit to Rs 831 crore.
Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio is likely contender to acquire half of promoter Subhash Chandra's stake in Zee Entertainment Enterprises, Business Standard reported. Global tech majors such as Amazon, Apple, Tencent and Alibaba have also shown interest in the Essel-run media company, the paper said. AT&T, Singtel, Comcast and Sony Pictures are some of the other probable suitors looking to buy the stake. The promoters of Zee Entertainment said they wanted to divest up to 50% of their stake to the 'right global strategic partner'.
According to the Economist, Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani now wants to become India's first Internet tycoon. Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio disrupted the Indian telecom industry and now boasts of 28 crore subscribers. “Now he wants to go further and become Indian Jeff Bezos or Jack Ma, using Jio as a launch pad," said The Economist in its latest January 26 edition. India's mobile phone customer base reached 1.17 billion in November last year, according to the TRAI.