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這家印度公司想挑戰阿里巴巴和亞馬遜

Aaron Pressman 2019年08月28日

該公司成立僅三年,便已經打造出了一整套僅支持4G標準的現代化無線網絡。

圖片來源:Photographed by Vivek Singh for Fortune

印度電信領域的新皇駕到:Reliance Jio Infocomm——由億萬富翁穆克什·安巴尼創建的一家無線網絡運營商,是去年“改變世界的公司”榜單的冠軍。截至6月底,該網絡擁有3.31億注冊用戶,首次超過了Vodafone Idea(3.2億名用戶)。這家電信公司的母公司是安巴尼旗下的能源與零售巨頭信實工業公司(Reliance Industries Ltd.),而且瑞士聯合銀行分析師預測,該電信公司有望以此為基石,打造能夠與中國阿里巴巴和美國亞馬遜相媲美的印度線上電子商務平臺。

這對于運營商來說是一個了不起的壯舉,因為公司成立僅三年的時間,而且一開始提供免費的移動網絡服務,后于2017年開始將用戶轉入依然十分便宜的數據套餐。當前,公司的其中一個Jio套餐對每GB數據流量僅收取3盧比的費用,相當于5美分,是全球最便宜的套餐。

為了組建這個低成本的運營商,安巴尼放棄了較老的2G和3G技術,耗費數十億美元打造出了一整套僅支持4G標準的現代化無線網絡,并采用了搭建互聯網所使用的路由器和相關設備,而不是那些昂貴的、更加專業的電信交換連接裝置。

安巴尼的無線網絡價格戰正在蠶食其對手的業績。Jio稱,其凈利潤在截至6月30日的季度躍升了46%,達到了1.3億美元,Vodafone Idea虧損了6.9億美元,排名第三位的Airtel虧損了4.1億美元。后兩者在去年還處于盈利狀態。

信實一直在拓展其在電子商務和云服務方面的產品,此舉也讓瑞士聯合銀行的分析師開始將這家公司與頂級互聯網企業進行對比。分析師總結說:“信實工業公司會成為印度的亞馬遜/阿里巴巴/沃爾瑪嗎?是的。”有鑒于阿姆巴尼雄厚的財務實力以及他通過成本削減獲取行業主導地位的決心,這個論斷并不是沒有道理。(財富中文網)

本文另一版本登載于《財富》雜志2019年9月刊,標題為《印度的無線網絡奇跡》。

譯者:馮豐

審校:夏林

There’s a new king of telecom in India: Reliance Jio Infocomm, the wireless carrier created by multibillionaire Mukesh ?Ambani, which ranked No. 1 on last year’s Change the World list. The network had 331 million subscribers at the end of June, exceeding Vodafone Idea (320 million customers) for the first time. Owned by Ambani’s energy and retailing giant, Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL), the telecom company could become the foundation of an online and e-commerce platform in India that rivals Alibaba in China and Amazon in the U.S., analysts at UBS predict.

It’s an amazing feat for the carrier, which started offering mobile service for free just three years ago before converting subscribers to still-cheap data plans in 2017. Currently, one Jio plan charges just three rupees per gigabyte of data used, equal to 5¢, and is ranked as the cheapest rate in the world.

To create the low-cost carrier, Ambani spent billions to build a thoroughly modern wireless network that supports only 4G standards, bypassing older 2G and 3G technology, and relies on the kind of routers and equipment used to build the Internet instead of on more specialized—and expensive—telecommunications switching gear.

Ambani’s wireless price war is eating his competitors. While Jio said net profit in the quarter ending June 30 jumped 46%, to $130 million, Vodafone Idea lost $690 million and third-ranked Airtel lost $410 million. Both had been profitable a year earlier.

Reliance has been expanding its offerings into e-commerce and cloud services, leading UBS analysts to make the comparison to top Internet companies. “Can RIL evolve into India’s Amazon/Alibaba/Walmart? Yes,” the analysts concluded. With Ambani’s deep pockets and willingness to cost-cut his way to industry domination, it’s certainly plausible.

A version of this article appears in the September 2019 issue of Fortune with the headline “India’s Wireless Wonder.”

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