Reliance's fiber-optic business raises $1 billion from ADIA and PIF

Manish Singh
·2-min read

Reliance Jio Platforms, the telecom venture run by India's richest man (Mukesh Ambani), had 405.6 million subscribers in the quarter that ended in September, becoming the first operator outside of China to cross 400 million subscribers in a single-country market.

The Facebook and Google-backed telecom operator said its finances have improved, too, despite the pandemic. Its EBIDTA run rate crossed $1 billion in the aforementioned quarter, while net profit jumped to $409 million. The average revenue it clocks per user now stands at Rs 145 ($1.94), up from $1.88 the quarter before. In the past two quarters, the company has expanded its workforce by 30,000 people, it added.

Jio Platforms also operates a range of services, including JioTV (on-demand live TV service), music streamer JioMusic and payments app JioMoney. Kiran Thomas, president of Reliance Industries (parent firm of Jio Platforms), said in an earnings call Friday that the company has proven that its services can be feasibly built in India, and the company plans to expand them outside of the country. However, he did not share a timeline for this expansion.

A slide from Reliance Industries' quarterly earnings call (via Reliance)

Investment in Reliance's fiber-optic business

Reliance Industries, the most valuable firm in India, announced some more investments in its businesses, continuing its eye-catching funding spree at the height of a global pandemic.

The oil-to-retails giant announced that "strong partners" Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) will invest $1.01 billion in the company's "critical asset" Digital Fibre Infrastructure Trust as the Indian firm makes a further push in deploying its broadband line across the country. The investment is part of Reliance's planned effort to raise about $5.4 billion through stakes sale and borrowings for the digital fibre business, it unveiled in an exchange filing earlier this month.

Through organic and inorganic expansion, Reliance today operates 1.1 million kilometers of fiber optic cable across 1,600 Indian cities and towns.

Abu Dhabi Authority and Saudi Arabia's PIF are also an investor in Jio Platforms, which this year has raised about $20 billion. A Reliance Jio spokesperson told TechCrunch that the investments announced today are separate and not part of the two firms' previous deals.