RCom rolls out 3G in 4 cities

Reliance Communications launched 3G, or third generation, mobile services in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Chandigarh on Monday, and plans to launch services in the remaining areas where it has spectrum before March. Earlier this year the company bought 3G bandwidth in 13 service areas for 8,585 crore. The technology is expected to get customers hooked to using data services that are priced at better profitability than voice calls. “Our network will automatically migrate all 2G customers with 3G enabled handsets to the 3G network at no cost,” said Prashant Gokarn, head of 3G services at the company.
However, Syed Safawi, president wireless business said it will take at least three to six months to get tangible and predictable revenues from 3G. At present around 20-25% of the urban subscribers on Reliance Communications’ GSM, or global system for mobile communications, services have 3G phones. In the more remote areas between 8 and 10% have 3G handsets, he added. The company has close to 120 million subscribers of which a third are on GSM, while the rest use the CDMA technology mobile services. Migrating customers from 2G to 3G network is expected to decongest the over-utilised existing networks for operators. “That is not our business case. We will use our entire 3G spectrum for data,” Mr Safawi said. The company has various payment plans which will allow customers to pay for what they use. Reliance Communications is not offering any unlimited plans. Over the span of a year the company will look at roaming tie-ups with other operators to offer services anywhere in the country, Mr Safawi said.

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