Reliance Industries will begin commercial operations of its much-awaited 4G telecom services by December, while it plans to complete projects worth over Rs. 2 lakh crore in the core oil and petrochemical businesses over the next 12-18 months, Chairman Mukesh Ambani said on Friday.
Looking to reap full benefits of these investments from the financial year 2016-17 onwards, Ambani said RIL would have a unique portfolio of globally competitive petrochemical and refining business with a new age India-centric consumer business with very high growth potential.
“This will place Reliance in a select group of most valuable companies in the world,” he said, addressing shareholders at the Annual General Meeting of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), which also operates the world’s largest crude oil refining.
The billionaire industrialist also unveiled a roadmap focused on adding capacity in core businesses and expanding rapidly in new ventures like retail and telecom.
Over a third of Ambani’s more-than-one-hour-long speech was focussed on RIL’s plans to use the 4G or fourth-generation telecom technology, also known as LTE or Long-Term Evolution, to offer wireless broadband as well as voice services.
Targeting 100 per cent national coverage within the next three years, Ambani said the 4G LTE smartphones will be brought to India at a price less than Rs. 4,000 by December.
These phones will beam HD television, video on demand, music, news and magazines, he added.
The group’s telecom arm Reliance Jio has applied for a pan-India cable television multi-system operator (MSO) license and plans to enter into broadcast TV distribution, Ambani said. Announced.
Besides, it has has partnered State Bank of India to apply for a payments bank license.
Reliance Jio, which had acquired Infotel Broadband Services within hours of that company winning nationwide wireless broadband licenses five years ago, has become the first operator to achieve wireless coverage far in excess the rollout obligation as per its license conditions, Ambani said.
Stating that the company was in the pre-launch testing and stabilization phase of the large and complex network, Ambani said extensive beta launch involving “millions of friendly customers across all markets” will be initiated over the next few months.
“This beta program will be upgraded into commercial operations around December of this year,” he said.
“I am glad to announce that financial year 2016-17 will be the first full year of commercial operations for Jio.”
Ambani said Reliance is investing over Rs. two lakh crores in building new facilities and creating new businesses that will come to fruition in the next 12 to 18 months.
“These investments will build new capacities, strengthen our global positions, improve the return on capital and make our existing refinery and petrochemical businesses among the most competitive in the world,” he said.
Ambani said Reliance’s capital expenditure in 2014-15 was in excess of Rs. 1,00,000 crore, the highest by any Indian company ever in a year.
The firm paid Rs. 18,746 crore of Customs and excise duty during the year, almost 5 per cent of India’s total revenues from this category. Also, it’s the highest income tax payer in the private sector, paying Rs. 6,124 crore.