Jio won’t bill broadband users for a month at least

KOLKATA | MUMBAI: Reliance Jio Infocomm won’t be able to charge customers for home broadband services for at least another month as it is migrating to an integrated billing system that is yet to stabilise, a scenario that could potentially delay monetisation of JioFiber services, people familiar with the matter said.

Further, droves of sales & marketing staffers at Jio are yet to be fully trained to sell the company’s diverse home broadband plans, which too could delay commercial monetisation of the services at the Reliance Industries unit. JioFiber’s plans range between Rs 699 and Rs 8,499 a month, with speeds from 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps, coupled with bundles in specialised services such as gaming, home network sharing, TV video calling & conferencing, device security besides access to content.

ET’s queries to Jio remained unanswered at press time Thursday. Reliance Industries is scheduled to announce its July-September results, including Jio’s numbers, on Friday. Jio commercially launched its fibre-based home broadband services more than a month ago, but has yet to start billing customers.

The 5 lakh-odd users, who had signed up for JioFiber trials well before the September 5 commercial launch, continue to get the services for free, and have not been approached by the company to buy specific packs. Even new JioFiber customers, who-’ve put in the Rs 2,500 refundable security deposit, are not being billed for home broadband services, people aware of the matter said. “Actual billing of JioFiber services will take a while to start as the company is moving from a pure mobile services billing system to a converged one, capable of billing customers for both 4G mobility and home broadband services,” one of the people told ET.

Another person familiar with the development said JioFiber customers were being “technically billed without having to make any payments yet”, as the company is still running checks on its billing system to ensure there are no hiccups once actual billing gets underway.

ET spoke to a cross-section of JioFiber customers, including people who had opted for the home broadband trials two years ago, to get a fix on the ground situation. “I haven’t been approached by any Jio executive yet to opt for a specific JioFiber plan, and am getting home broadband services for free, in that, after exhausting by initial 100 GB startup data, I’m able to do multiple 40 GB recharges for free to meet additional data needs,” said a person who had opted for JioFiber trials more than two years ago.

Sector experts said prolonged delays in billing of JioFiber services could pose revenue growth challenges for Jio, especially at a time when its mobile business average revenue per user has been falling for the past seven quarters.