It might be figuratively, though not literally true, that India has “just one network, the mobile network.” In 2015, there are at least 970 million mobile subscribers, representing a mobile penetration of 77 percent.
Mobile penetration is likely to reach 100 percent by 2020.
But there also are 100 million cable TV homes and 26 million fixed network telephone lines in service.
Reliance Jio, about to launch a major challenge in the Indian mobile communications business, also hopes to enter the fixed network business as well, as a cable TV operator. In June 2016, Reliance Jio Media Pvt. Ltd, a subsidiary of Reliance Jio, received approval to launch a pan-India cable TV company.
That would be an expensive, time-consuming and daunting exercise under the best of conditions. So it is not surprising that Reliance Jio would consider growth by partnership and acquisition.
The company is said to be in talks with a number of cable TV operators, particularly in large and densely packed cities, such as Mumbai and Bangalore, to supply the platform. At the moment, cable TV operators represent about 100 million connected homes.
As in the past in other markets, Reliance Jio might discover it will have to upgrade the cable TV facilities, both in terms of reliability (network uptime) as well as ability to support two-way operations.