June 2, 2014: If there was someone who wondered why Reliance Jio acquired Network 18 properties, then this is one clear answer to it. The company plans to offer free TV content to attract users for its newly launching 4G services across India. Users only need to pay for data connection and they will have free access to all the news and entertainment channels of Network 18 including CNN IBN and Colors. This would be a telling blow for competitors as their users need to pay for access to similar content. This move is likely to benefit the company in both urban and rural markets alike. Network 18 channels have huge subscription in both these areas and Reliance Jio is planning to make use of this to popularize their 4G service offerings too. The company has been quite aggressive in bringing this new telecom service right from licensing to now acquisition for content provisioning.
Reliance Jio is also the only company who has now airwaves to offer high speed data and voice services across India, with their recent successful bidding of 1800 MHz band. This is in addition to their 2300 MHz band. The company may also leverage Network 18 retail and digital divisions to extend online retail services to mobile channel too. Reliance Jio is focusing on data services to differentiate and grow their business in the highly competitive Indian market. Having TV content could certainly help them to have aggressive products and pricing plans to make strong inroads to the market without taking huge hit on the margins.