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Reliance Jio soft launches its 4G network with employees ahead of commercial launch of Jio services


After a long awaited run-up to the launch of its 4G services, Reliance Jio is set to begin a large scale pre-launch test of its nationwide network with its large employee base of approximately 70,000 employees. Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director, Mukesh Ambani announced today that employees will have access to Jio services beginning 28 December on the occasion of the 83rd anniversary of Reliance founder Dhirubhai Ambani.

“My team is of the sample size of India," Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Industries told the top leadership of the company, explaining the rationale of an employee launch on 27 December, distinct from a commercial one to be followed later. According to a Reliance spokesperson, the Jio launch is a first-of-its-kind launch event and makes optimal use of human resources to ensure that any bugs or glitches in the network is ironed out before the commercial launch of services by Jio.

The event was inaugurated by the Ambani family, including Mukesh Ambani and wife Nita Ambani, along with children Akash, Isha and Anant Ambani. Alongside was the mother of Mukesh Ambani, Kokilaben Ambani. The spokesperson added that employees of Reliance Industries, its group companies, Jio and its partners totaling over 1 lakh were brought into the Jio Digital Life, with a motto – One India. One RIL. One Jio. Employees across all levels in the organization were invited for the event, the spokesperson added.

Adding on the significance of this event, the spokesperson added that the old Reliance, with its traditional projects and production powerhouse, which is B2B in nature, has now joined hands with the new Reliance. The new Reliance is a consumer-facing business of retail and digital services. Collectively, the group has come together on a common platform to live the same digital life.

Speaking at the event, Mukesh Ambani said Jio isn't about Reliance, but about India. He said, when it comes to India, he is an eternal optimist. Ambani also added that the Jio network would offer a seamless 4G experience without the need to fallback on a 2G or 3G network. He went on to say that India would achieve much more in the next 20 years compared to the past 300 million years.

In what the group calls the world's largest digital town hall, 35,000 Reliance employees and their families took part at the Reliance Jio launch event from its headquarters at Reliance Corporate Park at Navi Mumbai. In addition, about 80,000 employees tuned in from over 1000 locations including Dallas, Texas in the US. Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani interacted with employees during the event.

Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan and musician A R Rahman performed at an event today to mark the closed launch of Reliance Jio's true 4G service for employees. The Jio infrastructure enables features such as VoWiFi and VoLTE. In an interview with the Economic Times Shah Rukh Khan said, “I think the digital world, especially with Jio, will change from what I have understood till now since I am the brand ambassador. On 27th (December), when the soft launch happens, and we will do more in March-April, it will be revolutionary."

With true 4G, your calls seamlessly switch from your mobile data connection over the LTE network, to your Wi-Fi connection at home. In fact, a true 4G network such as Jio's enables seamless high quality video calls, with up to 7-way conference calls and 4-way video conferencing. To add to the benefits, the concept of roaming is taken away as all communication is via data.

Earlier this month, brokerage firm Credit Suisse mentioned in its field trial report that download speeds on the 4G network of Reliance Jio during its beta-test phase peaked at 70 megabit per second but remained in 15-30 mbps range on most occasions.

The report said download speed of Reliance Jio 4G service was impressive but “it is still an empty network". It also found urban coverage of RJio network at par with incumbents but remarked rural coverage as “poor". “We experienced peak download speed of 70 Mbps during our trials, and on most occasions in the 15-30 Mbps range, even on the move," a report by Credit Suisse Research Analysts Sunil Tirumalai and Chunky Shah said.

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