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RCom: Voice-only Customers on GSM, Data-enabled Customers on CDMA

Reliance Communications is busy with finalizing its strategies for future, and it is obvious that the telco will shift voice-only customers to GSM network and will use CDMA network for high ARPU customers who will use voice and data both.

Began as a pure-play CDMA operator the move of Rcom seems natural at the course of the time. A long back Sistema Shyam Teleservices, operates under MTS brand told that they are on ‘voice enabled, data focused’ strategy.

By the end-January this year Reliance Communications first time reported about its plans for evolving data business and re-focus on CDMA as data platform. As a first step RCom removes all basic CDMA phones at below Rs 1,200; and started selling phones at Rs 2200 or more. The company believes that in 12-18 months bleeding CDMA business will be profitable. In last quarter 64% of total revenues came from mobile internet and GSM services, and the company will make the CDMA platform data savvy network, and will consider to deploy LTE services. It should be noted that Reliance’s CDMA coverage including EVDO/HSD coverage is not as par with TTSL or MTS India’s HSD coverage. Reliance must expand its Rev.A network before rolling out CDMA smartphones.

In February this year RCom announced the deal with Lenovo to bring dual SIM CDMA/GSM smartphones with All Share plans. As of now not a single smartphone from Lenovo was launched in the country, though Rcom says they will be launched very soon. Rcom is also in talks with several handset manufacturers like HTC, Blackberry and LG to bring their smartphones.

In India CDMA is better recognized as data platform, thanks for EVDO services via dongles and low tariff platform on voice. However GSM players now offer low tariff similar to CDMA. It seems data on CDMA consumed over dongles, while data on GSM goes via mobile phones.

Reliance is in a recovering phase, it made country-wide OFC deal with Reliance Jio, Reliance Globalcomm is to be sold and to make better margins hiked the tariff. In Mumbai RCom enters a network sharing deal with Loop Mobile as the later uses 900MHz band which will offer better network.

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