Reliance Communications has announced an ‘Unlimited MobileNet Plan’ for GSM customers, offering subscribers access to mobile data services at the following price points for pre-paid, post-paid:
– Rs. 5 per day
– Rs. 29 per week
– Rs. 51 per fortnight
– Rs. 99 per month

RCOM is also bundling free multimedia content on its VAS platform R-World worth Rs. 99 alongwith the Unlimited MobileNet Plan. Now these prices plans are reasonable and transformational, and will encourage greater usage of the Mobile Internet. RCOM says this is in preparation of the launch of 3G services: they’ve won 3G spectrum in 13 circles, including Delhi and Mumbai. We are, in principle, in agreement with the policy of encouraging greater data usage to seed a market for 3G services. RCOM plans to leverage its entire retail distribution network of 240 Reliance World Stores, over 2500 Reliance Mobile Stores and more than 2500 Reliance Mobile & Reliance World Stores, over 7 lakh retailers to market this product. That’s certainly a lot of push for Mobile Internet.

Also read: How India’s Telecom Operators Must Approach 3G

But Unlimited With A Fair Usage Policy?

RCOM calls this plan ‘Unlimited’, although the same announcement mentions an unfair “Fair Usage Limit” of 2.5 GB, beyond which, charges of Rs. 0.10 per kb will apply. We have issues with this concept of ‘Fair Usage Policy’, and feel that calling such plans ‘Unlimited’ may mislead consumers. On a 2.5G/EDGE network, this limit is likely to not be breached, but remember that once 3G speeds are available for data access, it is likely to result in those limits being breached, particularly if tethering is allowed.

Chetan Patil writes at Convergence.in that he had filed an RTI application seeking details on Reliance’s Simply Reliance Unlimited Calling Plan, which had a Fair Usage Policy. Patil writes that following his application, the TRAI wrote back saying that (emphasis mine) “the tariff plan by M/S Reliance Communications Limited which inter-alia fixed a cap on the unlimited usage of on-net and off-net calls in the form of Fair Usage Policy has not been approved by TRAI. A letter Dated 28th May 2010 advising M/S Reliance Communications Limited to immediately stop offering, presenting, marketing , advertising the tariff plan in this misleading manner has been issued.

I don’t think broadband tariffs come under Fair Usage Policy, but perhaps someone should try filing an RTI for broadband.

Check our Fair Usage Policy section for other instances.

Note: We thought about filing a similar application, but we’re a media publication, and don’t want to take on the role of an activist. We’ll stick to reporting and opining, and sharing our comments.