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How India's Richest Man Shook Up Its Phone Industry, in Charts

  • Ambani’s upstart Jio profitable after pushing rivals into red
  • Plunging prices make India world’s top mobile-data user
Mukesh Ambani

Mukesh Ambani

Photographer: Pankaj Nangia/Bloomberg

Within two years, India’s richest person turned the local mobile-phone market into the world’s biggest consumer of wireless data. But along the way, billionaire Mukesh Ambani laid waste to profits in the overcrowded industry by driving down prices to as low as zero.

Ambani leads Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., which has gone from zero to more than 200 million subscribers, all of them on a nationwide 4G network, since 2016. While the user growth has come at the expense of smaller rivals who’ve merged or quit the market, the thrust into the country’s No. 3 spot for wireless carriers has also ravaged profit at Bharti Airtel Ltd., and Idea Cellular Ltd. The latter has merged with Vodafone Group Plc’s India unit to overtake Bharti as the market’s biggest operator.