New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) The phenomenal growth of Reliance Jio, backed by its ultra-cheap data plans that has transformed the telecom scenario in India, has helped Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani move six places up to rank 13th in US magazine Forbes’ “World’s Billionaire list 2019”.
Mukesh Ambani is now worth $50 billion — up from $40.1 billion in 2018 when he was at the 19th spot on the billionaires’ list.
“Mukesh Ambani chairs and runs $60 billion (revenue) oil and gas giant Reliance Industries, among India’s most valuable companies,” Forbes said.
“In 2016, Reliance sparked a price war in India’s hyper-competitive telecom market with the launch of 4G phone service Jio. Jio has signed on 280 million customers by offering free domestic voice calls, dirt-cheap data services and virtually free smartphones,” the magazine added.
Others in the top-100 billionaires’ list include Wipro Chairman Azim Premji at rank 36th, followed by HCL co-founder Shiv Nadar at 82nd spot and ArcelorMittal chairman Lakshmi Mittal at 91st position.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos continued to remain the world’s richest man with a net worth of $131 billion, followed by Bill Gates at $96.5 billion and Warren Buffett at $82.5 billion.
Riding on the popularity of ultra-cheap data packs offered by Reliance Jio, which has amassed 28 crore subscribers in a short time, India has emerged as the country that provides mobile data at the lowest rate in the world.
Indians pay on an average Rs 18 for one gigabyte (GB) of data against a global average of Rs 600, showed research by price comparison site Cable.co.uk.
Reliance Jio also topped in terms of 4G availability among the telecom service providers with 98.8 per cent availability during the second half of 2018, according to an Ookla report.
Over the next 12 months, Reliance Jio is expected to reach the top position on both subscriber and service revenue metrics, and it expects to surpass the Vodafone Idea service revenues in the fiscal 2019-20, according to a report by Bernstein.
Mukesh Ambani also recently became the first Indian to enter the global top 10 richest billionaire list complied by Hurun Research.
According to the Hurun Global Rich List 2019, Ambani broke into the top 10 in the world for the first time after a $9 billion, or 20 per cent, surge in his wealth to $54 billion.
“The only Asian in the Top 10, Ambani’s wealth is based on telecom, retail and energy, and bucked the poor stock market trend in India last year,” said Hurun Research.