Jio GigaFiber, one of the most anticipated services from Reliance this year, may soon go live for consumers. As of now, Jio GigaFiber is facing a delay in the services being rolled out due to resistance faced by Local Cable Operators (LCOs) who fear that they will not be able to compete with Jio. However, the latest move made by Jio may eliminate this challenge.
Reliance Industries has apparently initiated talks to acquire India’s largest cable operator, Hathway Cable and Datacom, in order to speed up the commercial launch of Jio GigaFiber, according to a report on the Economic Times. Although, it is not confirmed if both companies will go through with this deal, the valuation figure being discussed is around Rs 2,500 crore, said the report quoting unnamed sources. Hathway shares jumped around 5 percent after this report broke out.
Hathway Cable and Datacom Limited, promoted by Raheja Group, is one of the largest Multi-System Operator (MSO) and Cable Broadband service providers in India today. The market capitalization of Hathway as on 30 June 2017 stood at Rs 28 billion. Hathway also has over 52 percent share of the total MSO cable broadband market in the country.
The total number of broadband subscribers that Hathway has is over 0.66 million. Hathway’s extensive network connects 7.5 million community access television (CATV) households and 7.2 million digital cable subscribers. The company offers cable television services across 350 cities and major towns. Hathway’s HD subscribers are around 170 thousand in numbers. Hathway offers up to 1 terrabyte of data with an average consumption of 70GB at the maximum speed of 200MBPS, according to a report provided by the company.
If this acquisition does actually go through, Jio GigaFiber could launch sooner than expected as it would remove the ‘resistance’ hurdle that the company is facing as of now. The broadband service will be simultaneously made available in 1100 cities and Reliance is targeting small, medium as well as large enterprises to use this service.
JioGigaFiber preview has already gone live for consumers since last month. Customers are being offered ‘ultra high-speed’ internet of up to 100Mbps for 90 days along with monthly data of 100 GB and a complimentary access to a host of Jio’s premium apps. GigaFiber router and the Jio GigaTV set-top box will come along with the Jio GigaFiber.
Jio GigaFiber is also expected to empower its set-top box with the ability to allow its users to video calls along with features like smart remote in several Indian languages as well as with voice command support. Jio GigaTV set-top box will also offer Ultra HD entertainment, multi-party video conferencing, voice activated virtual assistant, virtual reality gaming, shopping and smart home solutions, said Mukesh Ambani in a Reliance Event in July.