Three years after elbowing into the Indian wireless phone market with free calls and data, billionaire Mukesh Ambani is back at it.
This time, Asia’s richest man is handing out TVs to hook users on movies and entertainment shows via internet. He’s seeking to tap a burgeoning business in the world’s second-most populous country where companies from mobile carriers to Netflix and Amazon are butting heads to offer content.
Mr Ambani’s JioFiber broadband service, scheduled to start on Thursday across India, comes with a high-definition television and set-top boxes at no charge for annual lifetime subscribers. The offer by Reliance Jio Infocomm, the tycoon’s wireless powerhouse, includes subscriptions to most premium streaming services with prices starting from Rs. 700 (about $10) a month.
The fiber-TV salvo comes days after Jio formally swept into the No. 1 spot for wireless services after free calls and cheap data lured hundreds of millions of subscribers and left rivals Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea struggling under mounting debt. Airtel, backed by tycoon Sunil Mittal, and billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla’s Idea are also trying to lure users by offering access to TV and movie content.