Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s telecom venture Jio, which catapulted India as the world’s largest mobile broadband data consuming nation in less than two years, was first seeded by his daughter, Isha, in 2011.
This was revealed by Ambani, the richest Indian, in his acceptance speech last night after his oil-to-telecom conglomerate, Reliance Industries was presented with the ‘Drivers of Change’ award at the Financial Times ArcelorMittal Boldness in Business Awards.
Since the idea first cropped up, Reliance, which owns and operates the world’s largest single location refinery complex at Jamnagar in Gujarat, has spent more than USD 31 billion to break into India’s mobile-phone market. The 2016 upstart, called Jio, dislodged rivals and has emerged as the nation’s No 4 carrier by offering call services free for life and data transmission at dirt cheap rates.
Ambani said with super-abundant youthful talent, India is poised to become the third largest economy in the world by 2028 — within just a single decade.
“The idea of Jio was first seeded by my daughter, Isha, in 2011. She was a student at Yale (in the US) and was home for holidays. She wanted to submit some coursework and she said, ‘Dad, the internet in our house sucks’,” he recalled.
Ambani said Isha’s twin brother, Akash, at that time stated that in the old world, telecom was voice and people made money on calls but in the new world everything is digital.
“Isha and Akash belong to India’s young generation that is far more creative, far more ambitious and far more impatient to become the best in the world. These young Indians convinced me that broadband internet is the defining technology of our age and India cannot be left behind,” he said.
India at the time was suffering from poor connectivity and a severe scarcity of the most critical digital resource data. Data was not only scarce, but it was priced artificially high to make it unaffordable to a majority of Indians, he said.
Jio transformed all of this by making data abundant and affordable and available in every part of the country.
“This will make India a leader in 4G in 2019,” he said. “It took the combined Indian telecom industry 25 years to build a pan-India 2G network. Jio took just three years to build a 4G LTE network, which is much larger and far more advanced. And it is also 5G-ready today.”