Reliance Jio president has an ‘advice’ for Vodafone-Idea, Bharti AirtelReliance Jio president has an ‘advice’ for Vodafone-Idea, Bharti AirtelMuntazir Abbas India’s older players Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have been blamed by some for not having invested enough in infrastructure and innovation in the lead up to Jio’s entry in 2016. | ETTelecom | Updated: Dec 28, 2018, 01:13PM IST
NEW DELHI: India’s mobile phone companies must invest and innovate beyond traditional voice and data offerings, else they run the risk of being disrupted by aggressive rivals or app makers, a top executive at Reliance Jio said.
“For service providers, just voice or even traditional data revenue alone is not going to be the cure. They have to invest and innovate so that they would not get displaced by other aggressive providers or more importantly by OTT companies,” Jio president Mathew Oommen told ETTelecom.
India’s older players Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have been blamed by some for not having invested enough in infrastructure and innovation in the lead up to Jio’s entry in 2016, which has allowed them to be disrupted to such an extent that both are in the red, having seen the revenue plummet amid a brutal price war. The incumbents have also been blamed for not keeping pace with times, allowing over-the-top (OTT) players such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Skype to eat into their traditional voice and SMS revenue over the last few years.
Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea – created after the merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular – have previously rejected the views.
“This is just the start of the telco disruption and accelerated consumer mobile broadband and digital adoption,” Oommen said, adding that if services like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and HD video content are provided at affordable rates, people would consume, and telcos could face more disruption.
Taking a different track to incumbent telcos, Jio has urged the telecom department to hold early auctions for 4G and 5G airwaves.
“Fifth-generation (5G) technology is a huge benefit to operators who have already invested significantly in 4G, he said, adding that operators in India were still building out their 4G networks and just launching Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) based voice network.