India’s Reliance Jio Infocomm, in preparation for its natiowide 4G launch scheduled in the first half of this year, has launched its own OTT instant messaging and calling application 'Jio Chat'. The free Jio Chat OTT app allows video calling, audio conferencing and groups chats, and rich text features like stickers, emoticons, doodles, media share, location share and more. Users of Jio Chat will also get the latest news, content and offers from favourite brands on Jio Chat Channels. The Jio Chat app which runs on iOS and Android handsets, works across different operator networks.
Jio's latest move is part of the telco industry's response to the overwhelming growth in the usage of OTT applications, especially voice and messaging apps, that has resulted in erosion of Operator revenues in the traditional voice and SMS segments. By introducing their own OTT applications, Operators are expected to move a significant amount of voice and messaging activity back onto their own platforms, although monetization of these services will be dependent on in-app purchases, advertisement services and cross selling of their own services.
Apart from the Jio Chat app, Jio is expected to release additional apps covering health, finance, e-commerce and TV to differentiate its 4G service from its competitors. The planned TV app, called Jio Play, will offer all free-to-air TV channels, with the option to watch any programme up to a week old, according to a source cited by the Economic Times India.