Lead Story

Who will be left smiling in the data war?

Will Reliance Jio lead the explosive growth in data or trigger a sector implosion?

In June 2010, a little-known internet service provider called Infotel Broadband Services emerged as the sole pan-India winner in the auction broadband wireless access (BWA) paying Rs.12,850 crore for BWA spectrum in 22 circles. It was an auction that Vodafone walked away from citing high prices, Idea didn’t win a single bid and Bharti Airtel won just in four circles. Hours later, on the same day, Infotel announced that Reliance had picked up a 95% stake in the company. And just like that, in one swift move that clearly caught the industry on the wrong foot, Mukesh Ambani was back in the telecom game.