Reliance Communications (RCOM) has signed strategic Inter-circle partnerships with other telcos to offer pan-India 3G roaming service for its new and existing subscribers.
This partnership will allow RCOM to offer 3G roaming services outside the telco’s own 13 3G circles. These include regions like Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kochi, UP-East, UP-West, Gujarat and Maharashtra among others. The deal period or the terms of the partnership were not disclosed.
RCOM currently offers 3G in 13 circles including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Assam, North East, Jammu & Kashmir. RCOM CEO (Consumer Business) Gurdeep Singh hopes that this move will improve its postpaid and corporate customer marketshare in the country.
3G ICR partnerships: Note that this partnership is different from the previous 3G intra-circle partnerships like the Airtel, Vodafone & Idea one and Aircel-Tata Docomo one, which DoT (Department of Telecommunication) had termed as illegal in December 2011.
An RCOM spokesperson told Medianama that this is just a roaming partnership which has been allowed by DoT and it has no intention to sell its services to customers outside its own 3G circles, unlike in the previous partnerships where the telcos had started offering 3G services to their customers in circles where it didn’t have any 3G spectrum. For instance, Airtel, Vodafone and Idea had started offering 3G services in all 22 circles, despite having secured spectrum only in 13, 9 and 11 circles respectively. (Also read: 3G Roaming Scam Or Just Poorly Thought Out Policy?)
2G ICR partnerships: Last April, RCOM had also inked a pan-India 2G Intra-circle roaming (ICR) pact with Aircel, allowing both the companies to share their mobile towers to offer a pan-India 2G Intra-circle roaming (ICR) coverage to subscribers of both the networks. Following this, the company has also inked similar deals with Loop and TTSL.
Last month, RCOM had mentioned that it had added more than 9,000 sites through these tie-ups for the quarter ended December 31, 2013, in order to improve its network coverage and quality.
The telco had reported 11.1 million 3G subscriptions and a total 36.2 million mobile Internet connections for the quarter ended December 31st, 2013. It’s non-voice revenues had registered a 4.9% QoQ decline to Rs 1,018 crore from Rs 1,071 crore in the previous quarter.