Reliance Jio: As early as this year, Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani doubled his commitment to provide 5G services on his cellular network, as his conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd. posted a record profit backed by its consumer companies.

The wireless operator of the company, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. The largest in India. has begun advance testing to prepare the high-speed fifth-generation network. It said in a statement Friday. But the plans of the tycoon depend on the availability of spectrum. The necessary airwaves have still not auctioned by the Indian government.

The Mumbai-based company, whose companies cover oil refining. Retail and telecommunications petrochemicals, said it was measuring transmission speeds using locally built equipment. With almost 411 million subscribers, Reliance Jio posted a 15.5 percent jump in profit from the previous quarter for the three months through December, while earnings margins before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation reached 47 percent. The group’s net income grew 13 percent from a year ago, exceeding the forecasts of analysts.

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Ambani’s plans to transform Reliance from an oil powerhouse into a technology titan. A pivot that has raised $27 billion from global investors such as Facebook Inc. and Google, are back by the latest quarterly performance. Last month, Ambani, the second-richest man in Asia. Promising that Jio will be the first to introduce 5G in India in the second half of this year. He also aims to draw almost 300 million subscribers to the older 2G technology provided by Jio’s rivals.

However, the 63-year-old tycoon’s 5G ambitions are based on the auction of airwaves expressly reserved for these services by the Indian government. No date for this spectrum auction has been announced.

Jio is in the pole position to deliver 5G services, backed by his cash-rich and net-debt-free parent, whenever government regulations allow in what could be an encore of his debut strategy, at probably dirt-cheap prices. In 2016, when it entered the Indian telecom industry with free calls and super cheap data, Reliance Jio disrupted India’s telecom market, forcing rivals to merge, exit or go bankrupt.

Ambani’s bet on consumer services — telecom and retail — seems to be paying off despite the pandemic, helping the conglomerate offset a slump in its crude oil refining business

Key highlights of Reliance Industries’ quarterly earnings:

  • Net income beat estimates to rise 13% y-o-y to 131.01 billion rupees ($1.8 billion)
  • Consolidated revenue fell 21% to 1.24 trillion rupees
  • Total costs dropped 22% to 1.13 trillion rupees
  • Jio’s 3Q profit at 34.9 billion rupees
  • Jio’s average revenue per user rose to 151 rupees
  • Total debt, as of Dec. 31, stood at 2.57 trillion rupees