Sh Mukesh D Ambani, Chairman & Managing Director, Reliance Industries Limited At a celebration of
25 years of Mobility Desh ki Digital Udaan Friday, 31 July 2020
Hon’ble Minister Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad Ji, esteemed officials, my fellow industrialists and
colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon to each and every one of you.
My hearty congratulations to the Department of telecommunications and the COAI of India
for commemorating the Silver Jubilee of mobility in India, 25 amazing years. What a proud
milestone it is in our nation’s journey of progress and prosperity, Desh ki Digital Udaan. You
could not have thought of a more appropriate name for this commemoration. India truly took
a big flight into the bright future with the advent of mobile telephony in 1995.
There are rare moments in history. When fiction becomes fact, constraint makes way for
freedom and necessity becomes the proverbial mother of invention. The Birth of fixed line
telephony was one of them. However, it provided only partial freedom of communication. It
did not completely remove the constraint of distance, people needed to communicate from
anywhere to anywhere 24×7. It was both their need, and their dream. Technology answered
their dream and entrepreneurship satisfied this need.
Friends, the transition from landline to mobile was undoubtedly a revolutionary disruption.
However, in the past 25 years, mobile telephony itself has undergone many disruptive and
transformational changes. I can count four fundamental ways in which mobile telephony has
changed, and has in turn changed, India.
First mobility has become affordable beyond all expectations. In 1995, the cost of a perminute call from one cell phone was 24 rupees. 16 rupees for the caller and eight rupees for
the called. Now, voice calls are free, without any time limit.
Second, because mobility became affordable it also became democratic it ceased to be a
rich man’s monopoly, long ago. Indeed, no other technological tool in human history has
erased the rich, poor, divide the way mobile telephony has.
Third, from uni-functional, cell phones have become multifunctional because of the mobile
internet. The combination of the connectivity revolution and the computation revolution has
opened the floodgates of human creativity.
Fourth, and most important with data becoming both abundant and affordable, mobile
telephony has become a catalyst for enrichment, and empowerment of common Indians in
ways that was unthinkable 25 years ago.
People are now, accessing and exchanging knowledge on their phones.
They are receiving news on their phones.
They are watching and making videos on their phones.
They are buying and selling goods and services on their phones.
They are making payments on their phones.
They are working from home and studying from home on their phones.
They are participating in virtual meetings, like the one we are having now.
The ongoing COVID lockdown has provided the best examples of how mobile phones are
empowering people. They have kept the nation connected, and they have kept the wheels of
the economy running. What all this goes to show is how digital mobility is realizing Prime
Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of improving the ease of living for common Indians.
Friends, as we celebrate the Silver Jubilee of mobility in our country. I am both humbled and
happy to mention the significant contribution that Jio has made, and is continuing to make in
India’s digital Udaan. In less than four years since its inception, Jio has brought the fruits of
digital revolution to the largest number of mobile users in India. Jio has become the
trailblazer in affordability, quality and functional versatility.
We are now rolling out our vision of digital platforms and partnerships. This will provide the
most advanced technological tools of empowerment to millions of our farmers, small
merchants, consumers, small and medium enterprises, students, teachers, health care
workers and innovators. This will also create new and attractive employment and livelihood
opportunities for our talented youth.
Today I reiterate, Jio’s commitment to make our fullest contribution to the advancement of
our Prime Minister’s Digital India mission.
Hon’ble Minister Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad Ji, as we take legitimate pride in the
achievements of mobility in the last 25 years. This is also an occasion for us to look at the
obstacles that have prevented Indian consumers and Indian society from fully benefiting
from the digital revolution. Here I specifically referred to the fact that India still has 300
million mobile subscribers trapped in the 2G era. Their feature phones, keep them excluded,
even from the basic uses of internet at a time where both India and the rest of the world are
standing at the doorsteps of 5G telephony. I think necessary policy steps should be taken
with utmost urgency to make 2G a part of history.
Distinguished colleagues and friends, it is obvious that the next 25 years will bring even
more breath taking changes in mobility. 25 years ago, India was behind the developed world
in mobility. Now the time has come for India to be ahead of the rest of the world in key areas
of technology. Let’s all work together to realize this vision and mission.