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Alibaba has big plans for India
Alibaba has big plans for India

Jio Reliance emerges as leader in 4G market

Jack Ma’s Alibaba group wants to play a larger role in the Indian internet market even as it looks for a stronger play in the online marketplace and mobile wallets business through Paytm. The company is now planning investments as well as acquisitions in the mobile content area as well as online-to-offline (O2O) space something on the lines of BookMyShow -and this push will also be made through the Alibaba Mobile Business Group.

“India is one of the top economies in the world, and we want to upgrade our investments and our engagements here,” Alibaba Mobile Business Group president and UC Web cofounder He Xiaopeng said.

The company is in the process of increasing its interface with content creators and writers through the UC Web browser (We-Media platform) for which it is even looking at paying top bloggers for articles, photos and videos.

“We will not generate content on our own but we will encourage people to post their content on We-Media. With the use of Big Data, artificial intelligence, we will help contributors in improving their content and reaching out to the right target audience.”

Xiaopeng said that along with China, India is part of the company’s globalisation strategies. The company will look at investments in the “upstream and downstream” areas related to content generation as well as their distribution. Vernacular and those engaged in local language content is also on the company’s radar.

Asked about the investments that the company may make, he said there is “no cap” for it. “Our strategy here is for the long-term.”

Xiaopeng also had a word of praise for the way Reliance Jio had grown in the market and helped drive up data consumption. “Short videos are the next big thing for the industry. Reliance Jio’s focus on driving data provides a big opportunity for the entire industry.”

UC Web is a business within the Alibaba Mobile Business Group, and is a leading provider of mobile internet software and services. Its portfolio includes UC Browser (mobile browsing service), UC News (content distributor), 9Apps (Android app store), and UC Union (mobile traffic and monetization platform).

After dropping to fourth position for 4G download speeds in January, Jio has once again emerged as the leader in the segment. As per data collected by TRAI’s MySpeed app, Jio led the market in 4G download speeds, but continues to lag behind the incumbents when it comes to upload speeds.

The TRAI data says that the Jio network registered average speed of 17.427Mbps in February 2017, ahead of Idea (12.216Mbps), Airtel (11.245Mbps), and Vodafone (8.337Mbps). However, Jio’s average download speed for February is still less than its peak of 18.146Mbps that it registered in December 2016.

Notably, Idea Cellular’s average 4G download speed continues to rise, from 5.943Mbps in December to 10.301Mbps the following month, to 12.216Mbps last month. Airtel and Vodafone, however, saw a decrease in February compared to their respective speeds the preceding month. Airtel’s average 4G download speed came down from 11.862Mbps to 11.254Mbps, while Vodafone’s decreased from 10.301Mbps to 8.337Mbps.

When it comes to upload speeds, Idea leads the market with average 4G upload speed of 7.497Mbps in February 2017. It is followed by Vodafone (5.236Mbps), Airtel (4.492Mbps), and Reliance Jio (2.208Mbps).

Idea’s average 4G upload speed increased 33 percent, compared to the 5.631Mbps it registered in January. Vodafone, which led the market in upload speeds in January with 5.696Mbps upload speed went down slightly to 5.236Mbps, finishing at the second spot. Airtel and Reliance Jio also saw their upload speeds slow down marginally; Airtel went from 4.718Mbps to 4.492Mbps, while Jio’s decreased from 2.276Mbps to 2.208Mbps.

All four are locked in a battle for supremacy in the Indian telecom sector, which Reliance Jio has upended with its low-cost plans and free voice calls. Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea have launched unlimited voice calling plans as well as bundled data offers to better compete with Jio. Moreover, Vodafone and Idea have confirmed that they are in talks for a merger.