IT'S Final : Jio is starting its much-awaited commercial 4G Service Launch from 28 December (only for RIL Employee)

Reliance Jio Infocomm will start its 4G service on December 27 but only for group employees, indicating a further delay in the commercial launch and giving rivals Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea more time to ramp up their own high-speed broadband offerings.

The service by the telecom unit of Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries will be free for staff across India. The limited launch is being observed as part of Reliance Founder's Day Weekend to mark Dhirubhai Ambani 83 rd Birth Anniversary.

"We are happy to share that we will unveil Jio to our colleagues first, on the eve of our founder chairman's (Dhirubhai Ambani) birth anniversary," Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani with his wife Nita Ambani said in an invitation letter to employees.

"We want every member of our Reliance family to participate either in person or virtually through a Jio telecom beamed live to more than 1000 locations across India," Ambanis said in the letter.

There had been reports that RJio would launch its much-awaited commercial 4G services on December 28.

RIL CMD Mukesh Ambani in June had said that beta programme (trials) of Reliance Jio "will be upgraded into commercial operations around December of this (2015) year" and "financial year 2016-17 will be the first full year of commercial operations for Jio".

But the delay in the commercial launch underlines the challenges faced by the group, led by India's wealthiest businessman, and known for speed of execution in areas such as refining and petrochemicals.

Jio has accumulated airwaves in the 1800MHz band and 800MHz band and is also said to be signing spectrum sharing and trading deals with Reliance CommunicationsBSE 0.60 % for the latter's 800 Mhz airwaves. Meanwhile, Bharti Airtel has launched 4G services in more than 300 towns. Vodafone started 4G recently in Kochi and Idea Cellular is expected to launch it in January.

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