India’s Reliance Jio signs up 72 million paying customers

Commuters are reflected on an advertisement of Reliance Industries' Jio telecoms unit, at a bus stop in Mumbai

MUMBAI (Reuters) – India’s Reliance Jio, the telecom unit of Reliance Industries, said on Friday it had signed up 72 million paying customers under its Prime plan, and added it had extended the enrolment deadline for the plan until April 15.

Jio’s Prime plan is a critical component of the company’s push to start charging its customers after starting operations in September with free data and calls.

Under the plan, Jio would charge those who enrol 303 rupees ($4.67) per month for unlimited data and free voice services for a year starting on Saturday, although usage of 4G data would be capped at 1 gigabytes per day.

Jio had set an enrolment deadline of Friday, which has now been extended until mid-April.

The company also sweetened its offering by saying those paid the monthly fee of 303 rupees by April 15 would receive free services for three months.

Jio has upended India’s telecom sector since its entry, forcing rivals Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Group Plc’s Indian unit into lowering their prices, thus eroding profits across the sector.

Both providers have also tried to match Jio’s Prime plan with extra data offers.

Jio has also transformed the sector by forcing consolidation, with Vodafone and smaller rival Ideal Cellular this month announcing a merger, while Bharti is absorbing Telenor’s Indian unit.

(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Writing by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Rafael Nam)