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India: Mukesh Ambani plan to revolutionize telecom industry working



Mukesh AmbaniMukesh Ambani.Reuters/Amit Dave

Exactly two years ago, India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, planned to revolutionize India’s telecom sector with cheap data. His plan seems to be working.

After disrupting India’s telecom market with cheap mobile data and calling services, Reliance Jio has been steadily gaining market share. The company offers 50 rupees ($0.70) per gigabyte and monthly plans as low as  149 rupees ($2).

Reliance Jio, part of Ambani’s Reliance Industries, added 1.79 million subscribers in July, 10 times more than all rivals combined, according to the latest data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on Wednesday. Competitors Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea Cellular added 0.3 million subscribers and 0.6 million subscribers, respectively. 

According to a report by Jefferies, Reliance Jio has more than doubled its market share over the past 16 months. As of July, it controlled 19.6% of India’s 1.17 billion telephone subscribers, up from 9.3% in March 2017.

“If the recent trend continues, by the end of March 2019 it would have a subscriber base of 300 million from the current 225 million,” Jefferies analyst Somshankar Sinha said. 

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And while Jefferies is impressed with its telecom business, it has a price target for Reliance Industries of 880 rupees — a downside of 27.2% from current levels. That’s due to Reliance Industries having different businesses across various sectors, including energy, textiles, natural resources, and retail, which will cause capital expenditures to grow.

Reliance Industries shares are up 31.45% this year.

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