According to US-based Bernstein, Facebook’s 9.9 per cent stake in Reliance Jio is likely to have a significant impact on the Indian telecom industry and could impact other operators such as Airtel and Vodafone Idea.
Until now, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have been able to promote their openness as key differentiators versus Jio’s more closed approach to digital services.
However, Bernstein expects that Jio would now try to use the WhatsApp relationship to try to convert Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea customer to use their network which would be a negative development for both incumbent telecom companies. With this, Jio will have a channel for promoting their other digital services directly to the customers of their competitors.
Further, the firm highlighted that the investment removes balance sheet risks and adds considerable optionality to retail, digital and internet business segments for Reliance Industries.