Putting speculations to rest, Reliance Industries launched a low-cost phone with 4G-enabled features on Friday in a bid to woo tens of millions of low-income users to its upstart telecoms venture Jio’s service.

The launch was widely anticipated as Ambani, India’s richest man, uses the company’s annual meeting to make key launch announcements that have in the past disrupted sectors.

Here are the highlights of the launch:

12:57 pm: Jio will become India’s largest data provider. It is the jewel among the assets of RIL, says Mukesh Ambani.

12:51 pm: India in the next 10 years should aspire to become one of the largest economies of the world and RIL after 10 years will become one of the 50 top companies in the world.

12:42 pm: Every minute 8 smartphones are sold at Reliance Digital, its growth was 90%.

12:32 pm: RIL board has decided for a bonus issue of 1:1 share. The largest bonus issue by any Indian company so far.

12:30 pm: By paying Rs 8,800 crore in income taxes, Reliance Industries is the largest tax payer in the private sector, says Ambani.

12:29 pm: RIL’s net profit is the highest in the private sector.

12:24 pm: Data is the new oil and Jio is the new future of Reliance Industries.

12:13 am: RIL stocks up 28 points in trade, says Mukesh Ambani.

12:02 pm: From the last quarter of this year JioPhones will be made in India.

12 pm: Free of cost JioPhone will be available for pre-booking from August 24.

11:57 am: One time security deposit of Rs 1500 for every JioPhone will be charges. Refund for using JioPhone for 36 months.

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11:55 am: JioPhone will effectively cost Rs 0.

11:52 am: Weekly plan of Rs 54 and 2-day plans at Rs 24 to be launched.

11:50 am: JioPhone will have TV cable for casting programmes on any TV set.

11:48 am: Jio will give access to unlimited data on its feature phone at Rs 153/ month, says Ambani.

11:46 am: JioPhone will have free voice services, it will enable internet access.

11:45 am: JioPhone supports 22 major Indian languages.

11:36 am: Isha and Akash Ambani launch JioPhone, a 4G feature phone.

11:31 am: An entry level smartphone costs around Rs 3000-Rs 4500. To bridge digital divide Jio will provide ‘Jio Phone’, an intelligent smartphone: Mukesh Ambani

11:30 am : Jio to ingrate with all major e-commerce majors. We will have 10,000 Jio offices in all parts of India by September: Mukesh Ambani

11:29 am: Because of Jio, India’s 4G coverage will be more that 2G coverage: Ambani

11:27 am: Jio is 4G network leader in coverage, speed and connectivity. In the 12 months Jio will cover 99% of India’s population: Ambani

Kokilaben Ambani breaks down as Mukesh Ambani pays tribute to Dhirubhai Ambani at the 40th AGM of RIL. (ANI)

11:26 am: There are 78 crore mobile users in India. But a large part of them are not smartphone users: Ambani

11:25 am: Jio prime members will continue to get tariff incentives: Mukesh Ambani

11:24 am: Starting March 2017, Jio successfully undertook the largest migration of customers from free service to paid users: Mukesh Ambani

11:23 am: India is number one in mobile data penetration from 155th position a year ago: Mukesh Ambani

11:21 am: In just 6 months since Jio’s launch data consumption in India went from 20 crore GB to 120 crore GB every month. India has overtaken US and China in mobile data usage: Ambani

11:20 am: Jio adds 7 customers every second: Ambani

11:19 am: Mukesh Ambani: Jio has acquired 100 million customers in 170 days.

11:17 am: It has been an incredible 10 months for Jio. We have acquired enough customers to justify our Rs 2 lakh crore investment: Mukesh Ambani

11:15 am: Mukesh Ambani: I want to dedicate all achievements by RIL to Dhirubhai Ambani.

11:10 am: RIL’s turnover is now Rs 3.3 lakh crore: Mukesh Ambani

Putting speculations to rest, Mukesh Ambani on Friday announced the launch of Jio Phone, a 4G feature phone that offers free calls along with data packs at staggeringly low prices. Unlimited data packs for JioPhones will start at Rs 153 per month, there are also weekly and 2-day packs.

Ambani, who had taken the telecom sector by surprise with free voice calls and data last year, announced the next leap at the company’s 40th shareholder meeting on Friday. (Highlights of the launch)

The phone, targeted at 50 crore feature phone users in the country, will be available for pre-booking from August 24 on payment of a security deposit of Rs 1,500.

This deposit will be refunded after 36 months on return of the phone, he said, adding that the price of the phone will be “effective zero”.

He used the occasion to introduce his twin children, Akash and Isha, who presented the phone features that include calls and text messaging on voice command, Internet surfing and cable to connect the device to TV to view content, including videos.

“JioPhone will make the 2G feature phone obsolete,” Ambani claimed, adding that the company is looking to bring 5 million phones to the market a week.

“Reliance democratised the equity culture in the past. Now, Jio will democratise the digital culture in India,” he asserted. “Digital Life will no longer be the privilege of the affluent few.”

Jio, he said, already has 125 million users since its launch in September last year. In just six months of launch, data consumption in India has gone up six-fold to 1.2 billion GB per month, making India the largest mobile data consumer in the world, Ambani claimed.

Shares of rivals Bharti Airtel Ltd and Idea Cellular Ltd plunged. At 12.15pm, Bharti Airtel Ltd fell 3.4% to Rs405.50 while India Cellular Ltd fell 5.3% to Rs89.80.

This is “protection from extortionist data charges”, Ambani said. He said Jio’s 4G data coverage will exceed the country’s 2G network in the next 12 months, covering 99% of India’s population.

RIL has a 99.44%stake in Jio. It has invested Rs1.79 trillion in Jio so far and has forecast the investment to increase to Rs2.5 trillion by fiscal 2020. On Thursday, the Jio board approved raising another Rs 20,000 crore through a rights issue.

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) was trading at Rs1,557.25 on the BSE, up 1.9% from previous close, while India’s benchmark Sensex Index rose 0.16% to 31955.32 points.

  • JioPhone is effectively free for Jio customers.
  • A fully refundable security deposit of Rs 1500 has to be paid for JioPhones.
  • JioPhone will be available from Aug. 15 for testing and for pre-book from Aug. 24.
  • All JioPhones will be made in India, from the last quarter of this year.
  • Company says targeting to make 5 million JioPhones available every week.
  • Mukesh Ambani says fixed line optical fibre broadband will be the next big monetisation opportunity for Jio.