4G startup Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJIL) has unveiled plans for a limited LTE launch on 27 December, with a commercial launch expected to follow in April-May 2016, the Economic Times writes. The new service will be made available to the roughly 20,000 employees of parent group Reliance Industries (RIL), as part of Reliance Founder’s Day. Employees will be offered discounted handsets and free access to the company’s LTE system. No date has been set for a full commercial launch since Jio confirmed that it would miss its most recent deadline of December 2015, although the company did note in November 2015 that the 2016/17 financial year would be the first year of commercial operations.
As previously noted by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Jio’s prolonged delays have given incumbents ample time to prepare for the arrival of the disruptive newcomer. When it eventually launches, Jio is expected to sign up 100 million users within its first year, by enticing customers with much lower tariffs – the telco plans to charge around a third of the current level for data services – and cheaper handsets than existing operators.