- Thomson Reuters
India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani just launched the world’s largest 4G LTE network through his telecom company, Reliance Jio.
Reliance Jio will offer free voice calls, text messaging, and roaming when it makes its new network available on September 5 to 90% of India’s population, or 1.126 billion people, with super fast LTE data that peaks at 135 Mbps.
How much per gigabyte? 50 Rupees, or $0.75, per gigabyte of data.
That’s insanely cheap even by India’s telecom standards, as Reliance Jio is apparently charging one-tenth of what other Indian carriers charge, according to The Times of India. And students will also get an extra 25% of data free.
It’s a big deal, as it gives a large number of India’s population access to fast, reliable internet, which is a sparse commodity in the country. Access to the internet offers several benefits, especially for those whose exposure to the world around them is relatively limited.
Reliance Jio also helps get those who can’t afford expensive devices to access the internet with its own line of inexpensive smartphones called Lyf. It’s a similar concept to Google’s Android One initiative, which offers cheap smartphones to get as many people connected to the internet as possible.
Now that 4G LTE will soon become widely available for low rates in India, all while offering free basic communication services such as calling and text message, large numbers of people who couldn’t afford premium devices or data services can potentially access the internet.
The news of Reliance Jio’s new network and plans is supposedly shaking up the other three main wireless carriers in India, including Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea to adjust their own plan pricing, according to Mashable.