Reliance Zero Plan

The data bundled device tie-up with Apple has “tremendously improved” Reliance Communications’s (RCOM’s) postpaid business in large metro cities, particularly in Delhi and Mumbai, the company CEO (Consumer Business) Gurdeep Singh disclosed during its earnings conference call for the quarter ended March 31, 2014 (Q4-FY14).

While Singh declined to share any specific numbers on how these handset plans have performed, citing contractual obligations with Apple, he mentioned that these plans has helped them get a “large entry” into the corporate segment. He claimed that around 17 organizations in Mumbai and Delhi have completely shifted to Apple as a preferred plan, although he didn’t disclose any specific names of organizations that has opted for this handset plan.

Singh also mentioned that they are now hugely MNP positive in Delhi and Mumbai on value, attributing this to the “effectiveness of these plans”. In the previous quarter, Singh had claimed that the iPhone offer has led to a significant amount of high ARPU customers porting into the network and claimed to be MNP positive in all 13 3G circles, following the launch of this offer.

RCOM had first launched (pdf) these EMI-like 2 year contract plans for Apple’s iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S called ‘Zero Plan offers’ in November last year. Through this plan, users got the handset, unlimited local and STD calls, 3,000 SMS per month, national roaming and unlimited 3G data for a monthly payment of Rs 2,599 (iPhone 5c) or Rs 2,999 (iPhone 5S) for 24 months. These prices were however hiked a month later and the telco had introduced a similar plan for the two-gen old iPhone 4S at Rs 2,499 per month.

Following this, Singh had informed that they had replicated these EMI-like data bundled device tie-ups with more smartphone brands across various pricing points earlier this year. These include select Nokia Lumia smartphones like the Nokia Lumia 1320 & Nokia Lumia 1520 and GSM + CDMA based HTC devices like HTC Desire 700, HTC One dual sim, HTC Desire 600c and HTC Desire XC among others.

Shorter duration plans & more devices 

At the time of writing this article, we noticed that RCOM has also introduced similar plans for the CDMA version of Motorola’s Moto G, Samsung Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4 and Note 2, Motorola Razr M and Razr HD, Motorola DROID Mini and DROID Ultra and ZTE N799D among others.

The telco also seems to have launched shorter duration plans in form of 12 month and 6 month plans. Singh had earlier mentioned that he believes that these plans “can be a new category like Postpaid and Prepaid Plans, which will drive the revenue growth in future.”

Our RCOM Q4-FY14 coverage

We have no intention to hive off or sell our CDMA business – RCOM’s Gurdeep Singh
RCOM Non-Voice revenues up 2% QoQ for Q4-FY14; DTH grows after 2 flat quarters
RCOM had 12.9M 3G & 37.4M data connections at end of Q4-FY14