Disputes, Employee Misconduct Rattle Centerview’s Silicon Valley DreamsRead more

How India’s Jio Won Facebook’s Heart

India’s wealthiest man turned Jio into a wireless powerhouse by offering cheap high-speed data and free phones. Now Facebook and other investors are pouring money into Jio to get a piece of one of the last big untapped markets.

Mukesh Amabani and Mark Zuckerberg. Photos by Bloomberg. Art by Mike Sullivan
Mukesh Amabani and Mark Zuckerberg. Photos by Bloomberg. Art by Mike Sullivan
June 24, 2020 7:02 AM PDT

Four years ago, India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, set out to remake India’s mobile industry by launching a cellular phone service with rock-bottom prices that made it affordable for India’s rural poor. 

After Reliance Industries, his business empire spanning oil, retail and other sectors, invested $30 billion to build the network, he distributed more than 100 million basic phones that were free as long as users renewed their data packages on his Jio mobile network. Today, Jio has signed up more than 400 million subscribers, according to current employees, making it the biggest carrier in the country.

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