From Jamnagar to Jio: Mukesh Ambani is reliving his passion for telecom

MUMBAI: One of the toughest business calls Mukesh Ambani had to take during his separation with younger brother Anil in 2005 was letting go of telecom company Reliance Infocomm. Mobile telephony was set for explosive growth and would have signalled the arrival of Ambanis in the new economy. But the younger sibling got what had almost become a personal project for Mukesh, and renamed it Reliance Communications (RCom).

More than a decade later, India’s richest man is reliving a passion he never gave up on. The 59-year-old’s re-entry into telecom has been in the making for almost six years as he prodded the team -which included his daughter Isha and son Akash -not to repeat the mistakes the group made during their first foray into the sector in 2002. The Reliance Jio (RJio) project missed several deadlines but Ambani preferred a waiting game to avoid missteps in what is arguably his most ambitious and personal

If Jamnagar, the single biggest investment in post-liberalized India at the time, marked a milestone for Reliance Industries and India Inc, Ambani believes RJio’s free voice calling and cheap data strategy would catapult the country’s billion-plus population into the digital age.

“In my view, real power means the ability to make an impact on the quality of life of the people. Power needs to be measured by the impact of an individual’s contribution to the movement of history,

Reliance Retail, which he launched a decade ago, today operates more than 3,800 stores across 670 cities and towns, making it the country’s largest retailer. Like telecom, the retail foray had many naysayers who believed that Ambani could never build a consumer business.Undeterred, Reliance Industries built a network retailing groceries to toys to couture fashion. Reliance Industries, and more conspicuously Brand Ambani, has since then taken interesting detours to dabble in sports and entertainm ..

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