India mobile but limping, roll out in 92 cities only



Reliance Infocomm Ltd started its much-awaited commercial operations of ‘Reliance IndiaMobile’ service on May 1 in 92 cities that cover 90 percent of its customer base. The company claims to have a customer base of one million from 111 cities.

Initially, the company planned to commercially launch the service on February 15 all across the country. Since then the commercial launch got postponed because of several reasons that included interconnectivity,tariff and infrastructure issues. 

Still the issues have not been fully sorted but the company went ahead with its commercial launch in 92 cities out of 673 that it had planned. The service would be rolled out commercially in other cities once the interconnectivity agreement would be signed with the basic and cellular operators in that area. The company doesn’t have connectivity in place with BSNL in 90 percent of the cities, where it proposes to launch telecom services commercially. 

Of the 673 cities where Reliance Infocomm plans to offer limited mobility services commercially, BSNL has approved points of interconnection in only 92 cities. This effectively means Reliance Infocomm subscribers would be able to call BSNL subscribers in only 92 cities and not in 673 cities as it had wanted to. Also interconnectivity agreements are yet to be signed with various cell operators. 

Reliance Infocomm had been offering free service to its customers till April 30 and recorded zero to 30 million minutes of wireless usage per day on a sustained basis. It has signed the interconnectivity agreement with some of the leading operators in the country including BSNL, MTNL, Bharti, BPL, Escotel, Essar, Hexacom, Hutch, RPG, Spice, HFCL, Shyam Telelink, Tata Teleservices and VSNL. It is expecting to sign the interconnectivity agreement in the remaining 594 cities in India soon.

The company has also signed the interconnectivity agreement with fifty international carriers for international services. Points of Presence have been established at New York and Los Angeles for carrying international traffic. Reliance Infocomm has also come out with new tariff for its customers. The entry cost has been reduced to Rs 3,350. The company has filed the new tariff structure with TRAI that would have 60-second pulse and not 15 second as promised by Reliance earlier. The tariff is subject
to the approval of TRAI. The new tariff rates would also be applicable for existing customers.

Reliance Infocomm is also opening retail stores in 686 towns and cities all over India. This retail chain would include Reliance Webworld stores. In the first phase, 250 retail stores in 100 cities and towns would be operational by end-May 2003. In addition, another 100 company-owned phone shops would be operational in various cities to cater to bulk and corporate customers of Reliance
IndiaMobile.

Cyber News Service

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