How Reliance Jio brought an Internet Revolution to India.

Written by Prateek Mathur

August 6, 2021

Ever since Jio stepped foot in the telecommunications industry, the whole scene of the market has changed. The Internet revolution brought in by India’s own billionaire Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani has changed the digital culture of India. The 4G services of Jio were launched internally On 27 December 2015, and on 5 September 2016 Reliance Jio’s 4G services were launched commercially, offering free voice and 4G internet services till 31 December, which was later extended till 31 March 2017. At a time in 2016, before Jio entered the market, 1 gigabyte of data in India cost approximately 225 rupees ($3), which now has been reduced to $0.09/GB. This has led to a huge increase in the number of internet users in India. This revolution has opened up numerous opportunities for people of the country and has made their life very convenient.

As mentioned in the Chart The major share of market was distributed among 2 leading companies : Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea. Once Jio came, their share started to decline pretty fast as more and more people were attracted by the free and fast internet provided by Jio. In the past 5 years Jio has gained around 430 million subscribers and has become the largest mobile network on the planet.

Effect of Jio on Strategies and Profits of Competitors.

After Jio, every other service provider in the market had to change their business strategies and adapt new ones. High-speed internet was made available at very cheap rates to everyone in the form of unlimited packs and other combo packs. Bharti Airtel claiming they have the better speed and more connectivity gained 2nd position in market share after Jio (35.5% approx.) having approximately 29.6% of shares, followed by (recently merged) Vodafone Idea (24.5% approx.). Marketing strategies changed as now companies were more focused on speed and quantity of data instead of just range.

“The Jio effect” caused a 7% drop in Total revenue of its competitors within the first 2 quarters of its commencement. Bharti Airtel (a telecom giant) suffered a 72% decrease in net income during the quarter ending March 2017 with a 4.9% decline in profits. In the first quarter of 2017 Vodafone India (2nd largest at that time) witnessed a near 8.3% drop in its service revenue. Idea Cellular (3rd largest at that time), saw its data revenue decline by more than 19% and a decline of over 6.4 million in the fourth quarter. Telecrom subscription data of The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) for the month of October 2019 suggests that Reliance Jio was the topmost gainer in terms of new subscriptions, highlighting the rapid success of the venture.

To combat the competition by Reliance Jio Limited, British telecom major Vodafone and Aditya Birla group-run Idea Cellular announced the merger of their operations on August 31st 2018, creating the largest mobile operator in terms customer and revenue market share, and this merger had managed to hold the top spot until it was eventually overtaken by Reliance Jio. Other weaker companies like Telenor, MTS, RCOM, BSNL, MTNL and Aircel found it very hard to survive as they were already struggling before Jio struck.

How the Internet Revolution turned out for Indian Public

The biggest benefit of this revolution was enjoyed by the consumers. Almost 70-80% can now afford the Internet without affecting their daily needs. As of March 2020 India had around 743 million active internet users out of which 92.5% consisted of broadband users. Internet usage in India has increased a lot, Indians have gone from consuming 700 MB data a month to 11 GB per month. For a country where 6-7 years ago having access to the internet was such a big thing, this is a huge leap. As more and more people started using the internet they came across various career options and ways to earn a living online. We’ll be learning throughout this article, how this revolution has affected various aspects of life in India. Learning throughout this article, how this revolution has affected various aspects of life in India.

Let us learn how YouTube India’s whole landscape changed after the introduction of Jio:

Take YouTube for instance, before Jio there were a handful of content creators on the platform due to lack of audience. But since 2016, so many people have started their own YouTube channels and making content. In 2014, there were only 16 channels with more than one million subscribers. Now, there are over 1200 channels passing that milestone, and the platform claims that two more are being added almost every single week. As of now YouTube India has 245 million active users and the number is increasing by the minute. T-series, India’s very own music company is the most subscribed channel on YouTube globally with a subscriber base of whopping 190 Million (as of July 2021). Carryminati, Ajey Nagar, is India’s biggest individual YouTuber with a whopping 31.1 million subscriber base (as of July 2021). He has a second channel as well named Carryislive where he plays games on live stream and interacts with his audience.  His net worth is roughly estimated around $4 Million. Bhuvan Bam (BB ki Vines) , Amit Bhadana, Ashish Chanchlani (Ashish Chanchlani Vines) Prajakta Koli Mostly Sane) are some Popular content creators on YouTube who are making a living out of it.

Live Streaming is a growing community in itself. For those who don’t know, live streamers are basically gaming influencers who record video games while playing them. Total gaming (25 million+), Techno Gamerz (21 million+), Mortal (6 million+), Scout (3 million+) are some of the popular mobile gaming live streamers of India while Rakazone Gaming (400k+), Xyaa (260k+) Tbone (120k+) are famous among the Pc gaming community. These streamers earn money through brand endorsements and ad revenue which is quite good if you compare it with average salaries of 9-5 job people. However, it is not as easy as it sounds. To make a living on YouTube you need to attract subscribers and make content regularly which is a hard job too owing to the increase in competition on platform.

All this has been made possible because of this Internet Revolution.

Impact of Internet Revolution on Indian Commerce:

With the ever-increasing number of Internet users, many businesses started going online. The E-commerce websites which were struggling to attract customers got a huge boon because of Jio. Transacting users, those who buy things online on a fairly regular basis, leaped to 50-60 million at the start of 2016 from 12-15 million shoppers at the end of 2013, according to industry executives. With Jio entering the market, most Internet users can now become consumers. Penetration for non-users shall increase, too, but at its own pace, ‘Internet connectivity issue is more pertinent in tier II and tier III cities, and our significant TG (target group) is also from this region. With better connectivity, we see significant growth in both new users and existing users.“, said Nitin Agarwal, associate vice-president (marketing) at ShopClues, in an interview.

The Rise of Smartphones:

The Mobile Industry grew rapidly as well. With cheaper high-speed internet available people needed devices to use it, hence more and more Smartphone users kept increasing day by day. Chinese mobile manufacturers, Oppo, Vivo, RealMe, OnePlus, and Xiaomi have truly made India home. These brands provide cheap smartphones with tons of features and hence smartphones became an affordable and necessary commodity. These smartphones coupled with the high-speed 4G connectivity that Jio gave, transformed the way in which Indians used mobile phones. Xiaomi saw the revolution as a big opportunity to penetrate the Indian Mobile industry which was then dominated by Nokia and Samsung. Xiaomi launched cheaper, affordable Android smartphones with a lot of features to attract customers. Xiaomi saw a 14% increase in their market share between Q4 of 2016 and Q4 of 2017, which helped Xiaomi to surpass the long-time market leader, Samsung, for the first time ever. This performance ended Samsung’s six-year dominance, which is a huge leap. The Pie chart shows the Market share of various mobile companies as of Q1 2021.

Due to increasing mobile internet users, Businesses started to focus more on marketing which brought Digital marketing under the spotlight. Digital marketing, also called online marketing, is the promotion of brands to connect with potential customers using the internet and other forms of digital communication. This includes not just social media and web-based advertising, but also text and multimedia messages as a channel for marketing. The rise of Digital Marketing gives out various employment opportunities for people and can help them earn money online sitting at home. The Indian Digital marketing industry as of now has a worth of over $1 billion which is not a lot compared to the $150 billion worldwide, but it is just the beginning for us.

International Impact:

The Revolution and its benefits were not limited just to India, it had a huge Global impact as well. To understand this in a better way let us look at examples of some rapidly increasing industries since 2016:

Social Media:-

All Major Social Media platforms saw a huge increase in their user base from India. Facebook has an Indian user base of over 160 million users, the second-highest after Facebook’s home ground (USA). Mobile advertising revenue grew 53 percent to USD 8.6 billion during the December quarter, representing about 84 percent of the quarter’s revenue. A similar rise was seen on Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. Instagram is one of the leading social networks in India. Many influencers, memers are earning through the platform with their innovative and creative content. 

YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki said India is now both our biggest audience and one of our fastest-growing audiences in the world. YouTube today has become the first stop for users to consume content, whether they’re looking for entertainment or information. It is this incredible variety of content combined with the growing reach that makes YouTube a perfect platform for brands to drive personalized engagement,”. She also shared that YouTube’s consumption on mobile has increased to 85%, with 60% in the past year with the watch time coming from outside the six largest metro cities in India.

Gaming Industry

Due to the fast and affordable connectivity of the internet and smartphones since 2016, the Indian gaming industry has grown to become one of the largest e-gaming markets in the world. India had 365 Million online gamers in 2020. This number is expected to grow up to 510 million by 2022. PUBG Mobile got a very popular response from gamers of the country. The game had a huge share of Indian users in its active player base. The game had 175 million installations from India. However, the game is now banned in the country due to privacy reasons, but the PC version of the game still runs in India with a lot of active players. Recently released, modified version of PUBG mobile, BGMI (Battlegrounds Mobile India) has already started attracting millions of gamers in India. PC games like CS: GO, Valorant, Apex Legends, too have a lot of active players from India, some of which are even Competing in Online Gaming Competitions (E-sports) organized around the worldTo read more about Esports click here.

OTT Streaming Platforms 

Ever since Jio, OTT streaming platforms have had their users grown rapidly and many Indian web series went under production. Netflix, a popular OTT platform worldwide, started its operations in India in 2016.  India’s first Netflix original series Sacred Games was released in 2018. 

AS of now, Disney Hotstar is leading in this war of OTT platforms with 94.9 million active paid Indian users. The VIP plan of Disney+hotstar costs INR 399 per year and the Premium one costs INR 1499 per year or the user can avail monthly plan of INR 299. Next to Hotstar stands Amazon Prime with an active Indian user base of 10 million followed by Netflix with 4 million active Indian users. Many other new OTT platforms are trying to gain their place in the market dominated by these three OTT giants.

How the Revolution helped India survive the Pandemic

Covid-19 struck our country in 2019 and has not left since. Almost every aspect of life has been affected by the pandemic yet India thrives. The corporate world continues to work smoothly, and we have the revolution to thank for that. “Work-from-home” wouldn’t have been possible without Jio. Due to the availability of cheap, fast, and affordable internet our country has survived the pandemic economically. Education of students kept on going with online classes and online exams organized by schools and colleges. During the lockdown, internet traffic was at a peak in India, many streaming and OTT platforms had to reduce the video quality of their content to keep up with the huge amount of simultaneous users. Lockdown can be very stressful, but the availability of the internet made it a bit easier and more relaxing for people.

The 2nd wave of Covid-19 was much worse for India. During the time of crisis having the internet came very handy for people as many NGOs went online through social media platforms and websites to help the ones in need. People helped each other on their individual levels as well. Many social media influencers helped out the ones in need by posting on their Instagram pages or Twitter profiles about medicine and other needs of patients which were made available to the needy by the local public. This helped India a lot in surviving the deadly and terrifying 2nd wave.


Throughout the article we have learned how the entering of Reliance Jio has changed the whole digital life and even personal lives of people. The entering of one telecom company put India on the digital map and has made several International businesses and brands look at India as not only a potential but a promising market for their commodities, which has led to rise in the quality of living of the country.

I thank you for putting your time into reading this article, I hope I was able to provide whatever information you were looking for. Now I will leave you with this question. How has this Internet Revolution affected you personally? What benefits have you enjoyed in the past years which were missing before Jio? Tell us in the comment section below.

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