07 September, 2016

Jio, jee bhar ke!

I stood up when I saw this… there was this WA message - 45 minute speech by Mukesh Ambani at RIL AGM cost Bharti Airtel/ Idea a whopping Rs.11,950 crores ! 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Jio is the cat among the pigeons. The pigeons were doing decently & knew about the cat all along. Now, the cat has pounced. Will the pigeons get caught – or will they be able to outsmart the cat? That’s a trillion rupee question.
It looks like it’s wonderful times ahead for consumers – what with subsidized handsets, low data costs & zero voice call costs – this is straight God stuff from heaven!  We are all justifiably excited. Mukesh is talking of a 100 million subscribers as soon as possible. That does not look like such a tall order with the dhamaka he has unleashed. But when will he make money ? That is a Quadrillion rupee poser!

But, I was intrigued as to why someone as smart as Mukesh has sunk in Rs.1,50,000 crores in a business that is notoriously difficult & keeps sucking capital like a vacuum cleaner!  He needs to make a profit of atleast Rs.15,000 crores pa or more, after all costs ) to make this investment viable. That certainly seems like a tall order, when he doing his Santaclaus-act of giving voice calls free & data at a fraction of current costs. Compounding that is the fact that people don’t have the handsets to operate 4G & he needs to subsidise that too, to ensure that people subscribe to his services.  In a nutshell, he is throwing too many sprats to catch that elusive whale!

Mukesh started off with a cash gusher & is expanding into all sorts of businesses that would absorb the stuff like a sponge – like Retail, Healthcare, Telecom. His brother started off shakily – power, radio FM, Big Cinemas, transportation/ Infra, finance etc., none of which had the potential to turn in any great money. Making amends, he is now getting into defence in a very big way, where there is potential to make it big. That’s a study in contrast.

These are really sharp businessmen whose calculations we may not understand. Only time will tell as to how successful these ventures are going to be & we may read their success stories in the pages of the pink papers, in times to come.

Now let me come to another aspect we think we understand a bit – finances. Even here there is one segment of clients who are considered to be uber difficult to understand. We have made an effort to address this segment and have given an advisor’s perspective on this.  

Check it out here –

You may give us a feedback as to whether we have cracked the code or if we are still in babes in the woods & need some growing up!

These are certainly interesting times. Change is everywhere. And that’s what makes life interesting, alive  & worth living - which is probably why Mukesh chose to call his offering Jio!

Suresh Sadagopan is the founder of Ladder7 Financial Advisories (www.ladder7.co.in)

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