The Reliance Communications management including Anil Ambani himself had lot of self praise about the nationwide launch of Reliance GSM Mobile services in India. The nationwide GSM / EDGE services was launched on Dec-30th, 2008 thus taking the bouquet of GSM offering across PAN India. Here is an excerpt from Con Call with the management. [Our comments if any will appear in Italics]
- Mr. Anil Ambani thanked for the Pro Govt reforms which has set sight to make India the largest telecom market in the world. Once again RCom is re-writing the rules of the game with GSM roll out which has coverage across 11,000 towns and 400,000 villages with quality of service and value for money positioning. [We saw this coming in 2006]
- Ambani further added that this was the fastest network rollout in the world within a span of 11 months, 6 months ahead of its schedule. It took 15 years for other competitors to achieve the same coverage.
- Mr. Ambani has set the underlying tone without diving into deeper details that Reliance GSM Mobile Customer Experience program will beat several records.
- Mr. Ambani acknowledged that 8 out of the 10 new cellular customers in India are on the GSM platform, mainly because of the choice of handsets. [Miserable management decision at Qualcomm fo not opening up]
- Despite adding just 2 out of 10 new customers, RCom CDMA is able to maintain its leadership in the market as the Second Largest Wireless Service provider in India. [Ambani sets us thinking outside the box. With only CDMA, we could attract 51 mn subscribers, now we have the power of GSM too, so think what we can do :-)]
- Mr. Shukla, President RCom Wireless services had a lot to say as well. Reliance GSM coverage between launch and today has crossed 14,000 towns and the goal is to reach 24,000 towns and 600,000 villages across India linking the widest diversity of 1 bn people on the planet.
- Reliance GSM rollout leveraged on the existing CDMA infrastructure, retail outlets, distributors etc thus saving tremendous cost to the company.
- Reliance Mobile Customer Experience Programme – As I had already said while covering Bharti Airtel, RCom is bent upon pushing FREE minutes and the underlying tone of Mr. Shulka in the conference call confirms the same [But will turn into reality, only by March, when Freebies end] Here is Mr. Shukla’s strategy which he reiterated several times, Reliance Fixed Wireless Phone(FWP), CDMA and GSM all will constitute the On-Net calling which will be made FREE. [Currently CDMA +FWP On-net is available] RCom wants to create small mobile communities Youth, Families etc who can avail the On-net features. This is a viral marketing strategy spread by word of mouth. Rcom will step-in later with Advertising for brand building. Response to Reliance GSM at Retail outlets as well as Multi-Brand outlets has been encouraging and has exceeded management’s expectations. [Mr. Shukla wants to build a Mobile Social Community of Reliance Mobile Users who will subscribe to On-net calling ;-)]
- Mr. Shukla said that they are studying the profile of the customers logging on to Reliance GSM platform. If not many, at least some are existing customers of other service providers and thus Reliance is able to successfully churn them on to their platform. [But will they be able to Retain after the 90 day honeymoon period which folks at Airtel are skeptical about ? ]
- Reliance GSM also opens itself to the opportunity lying in the Roaming space. Until now, Reliance GSM customers in East India had to rely on other networks when they travelled outside their home calling region, but now they can stay on Reliance network] Reliance GSM which had partnership with 120 operators for operations in Reliance GSM has extended it to PAN India with this launch.
It will be interesting to see how things will unfold post-March-09. Way to go Mr. Ambani. Stay tuned for more updates on the great Indian wireless battle.