UPDATE 2-India's Reliance sees telecoms arm Jio turning profitable "shortly"

From Reuters - October 13, 2017

* Standalone Q2 profit 82.65 bln rupees; forecast 88.05 bln

* Jio Q2 revenues 61.47 bln rupees, loss of 2.71 bln

* To continue pumping about $1 bln per quarter into Jio (Adds details on Jio, executive comments, background)

By Promit Mukherjee and Krishna V Kurup

MUMBAI/BENGALURU, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Reliance Industries Ltds telecoms arm Jio will turn profitable shortly, the Indian conglomerate said on Friday, while adding it would continue to pump around $1 billion into the venture for each of the next few quarters.

Jio launched late last year with free voice and cut-price data, sparking a price war in Indias cut-throat telecoms sector which has driven down margins and forced consolidation.

Oil-to-retail giant Reliance, controlled by Indias richest man Mukesh Ambani, suggested there were signs its costly gamble was paying off. Jio racked up 61.47 billion rupees ($947 million) of revenues in the three months to Sept. 30, though made a loss of 2.71 billion rupees.

I can only see it (net income) turning positive very shortly, joint Reliance finance chief V Srikanth said, as the group disclosed Jios bottom line for the first time.

Reliance will continue to spend around 70 billion rupees a quarter on Jio for the next few quarters, Anshuman Thakur, Reliance Jios head of strategy said. Reliance has poured more than $30 billion into Jio so far.

To woo customers to Jios network, Reliance in July launched a $23 phone that blurs the lines between a smartphone and a basic feature phone.



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