Reliance Jio on hiring spree, to recruit 500

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Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio Infocomm is on a hiring spree, aiming to bring in as many as 500 telecom professionals on board in the next few months as it races towards launching its much-awaited services likely by September.

“About 300 professionals will be hired for senior roles and the company has begun negotiating with circle heads of various telecom operators. It has so far hired close to seven circle heads,” a person familiar with the matter told ET.

India is divided into 22 telecom circles, each comprising a city, state or, in a few cases, a group of provinces. Reliance Jio owns airwaves in all circles.

Another person said the company had already hired Murali Kittu in a circle head role from the nation’s No. 1 carrier, Bharti Airtel, where he was chief operating officer for the Tamil Nadu service area. Reliance Jio had also recently brought on board Amitabh Jaipuria, former chief executive of AGS Transact Technologies, as the president of its fixed wireline business.

“The company wants to roll out voice, data and provide fibre to home connectivity all at one time,” the first person said.

Reliance Jio didn’t respond to requests for comment.

A third person told ET that Reliance Jio has ramped up hiring in the past three weeks after it was able to firm up an organizational structure.

“Unlike an Idea Cellular which is very decentralized in decision-making, or an Airtel or a Vodafone which have devolved certain owners to the circle heads and so on, Jio has decided to go in for a very centralized structure,” the person said. This means, most decisions at Reliance Jio will be taken at the national headquarters in Mumbai while their execution will be left to the circles.

Under the overall command of Manoj Modi, a confidant of Ambani, Reliance Jio is led by group President Sandip Das, who looks after the day-to-day operations with managing director Sanjay Mashruwala mainly managing network rollout.

Other key men in leadership role include Kiran Thomas, assistant vice president, and Mathew Oommen, who is president of strategy, network and products.

Mahendra Nahata, head of Himachal Futuristic Communications whose Infotel Broadband Services was bought over by Reliance Industries for its telecom foray in 2010 and renamed Reliance Jio, is also a key member of the leadership team.

“While Manoj Modi looks at the business day in and day out, Mr Ambani is also keenly involved, with progress reports and briefings coming to his desk at least once every week,” a fourth person said.

The company is planning to hire two sets of leaders for certain senior roles: one an Indian with specific domain knowledge and the other an expat who could advice on knowledge transfer and global best practices.

According to sources, the company is considering expats for roles in technology and customer service areas, and wants to stick to Indian talent for positions in operations, sales and marketing as well as supply chain.

Reliance Jio acquired pan-India airwaves in 2010 to provide high-speed Internet services, paying Rs 13,000 crore for 20MHz in the 2300MHz band. It had been unable to launch commercial services because of technology limitation of the frequency.

In February this year, it won airwaves in the 1800 MHz band — which is ideal for offering voice services — across 14 circles for about Rs 11,000 crore. This allows the company to offer high-speed data services on the 2300MHz band, and fall back on the 1800MHz for voice offerings. The 1800MHz band can be used for data services as well.

Reliance Jio has been stitching up agreements with rivals Bharti Airtel and RCom for leasing telecom towers and using the latter’s inter- and intra-city fibre network, in a bid to speed up the launch of its services.

Filed in: Computer Hardware, News

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