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RCOM FY12 Concall: 3.2 Million Active 3G Users; Android Bundling Exclusivity; No LTE Worries

During its earnings conference call for the fiscal year ended 31st March 2012 Reliance Communication mentioned that it has exclusivity for bundling of Google Android devices in India for a two year period; this, it appears, doesn’t include all Android devices, only those brought out by Google in partnership with handset manufactuers.

In addition, the company said that it has 3.2 million active 3G subscribers, and shrugged off any concerns of competition from LTE services saying that the need right now is to broadbase mobile Internet and data usage, for which 1-3 mbits per second is sufficient. More detailed statements below. Also, view our report on RCOM results here.

Notes from the RCOM conference call:

1239 hrs (and 12:55hrs): Forged an alliance with Google to “exclusively” market Android in India for the next two years.
1240 hrs: Market is witnessing an explosive growth, and we’re an established player with the Reliance 3G Tab having a substantial marketshare in tablets. There was a need from the enterprise. We have launched India’s first CDMA Tablet, with over 3000 towns in high speed mode, and 20,000 towns in 1x speed.
1242 hrs: As per TRAI’s QoS report, Reliance has met TRAI’s QoS criteria in all 22 circles, with RCOM having lowest call drop rate in 18 out of 22 circles.
1243 hrs:  Competitive intensity has reduced post the Supreme Court judgement
1245 hrs: Non voice contribution to total revenue is 20%
1246 hrs: RCOM offers 3g in 333 towns. RCOM has launched a plan which adjusts data bill for customer on the basis of lowest charges on the basis of usage.
1248 hrs: (Discussing the globalcom business)
1300 hrs:  3.2 million active 3G customers. Active 3G customer base is growing.
1313 hrs: Exponential growth in smartphones, and Reliance is working to encourage to increase consumption of both voice and data
1313 hrs:  3G BTS sites are over 11200, and this is 3G, not CDMA.
1314 hrs:  Continue to engage with all the operators, including infotel, and we do not comment on individual customer proposals. As and when we sign a contract and it is allowed by the customer, we would announce it.
1322 hrs:  to market any android services in the Indian market for a period of two years, which includes google specified devices. If they decide to work with Samsung for Nexus, then reliance will have the marketing rights. There is some give and take. It also includes developing certain applications for reliance devices.
1325 hrs: The ecosystem for 4G is still evolving. Most of the operators have the licenses and they are in active engagement with us, for infrastructure, which includes our tours, fibre etc. They all are at least 3 quarters away from launching services. As they get ready, you would see advantages flowing into our revenues as well.
1327 hrs: The wireless data pie today is Rs 500 crore. How would you broadbase that? You’re not looking at 30-40-100mbit speeds, but it’s about taking the entry barrier away, and affordable data plans. When you want to have broadband, customers are looking at fixed line broadband, and wireless broadband. How will it differentiate in the future? Some of the high end customers, for the sake of convenience, but they would not know what do with that speed. What you use for your usual applications, you use 1-3mbit speeds, unless you’re doing file transfers, which are corporate or enterprise driven applications. Our prime business will be voice, and data will take 2-3 years for broadbasing of data. Our needs have to go up, for a high speed backbone network. I don’t think even for 3G anyone has this kind of a backbone network. I needs an entire back end to give that customer experience. HSPA can go up to 45mbits which is comparable with 4G. In the next 2-3 years, the priority is to broadbase data users. Competition is always good – it will grow the users.
1332: Android cannot exclusively bundle with anyone else in India
1333: Cost of renewal of refarming would be minimal, because those with 900Mhz that come up for renewal initially will be in C circles. For incumbents
1344hrs: We are looking at revenue growth, profitable growth and paid consumption led minutes usage and data.

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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