Reliance Communications’ CDMA service is getting shut down in most circles, and across India, subscribers are about to be give the option of moving to RCom-Reliance Jio’s combined 4G network instead.
However, one of the key questions in consumers’ minds is how that will impact the tariff plans that they currently enjoy.
While most people expect to continue their CDMA plans — which are among the most cost-effective in India — our sources are indicating that the consumers will have to move to new plans that are likely to resemble current 3G plans.
4G LTE is the common upgrade path for both CDMA and GSM technologies.
Once the migration or upgrade happens, users are likely to be asked to choose a new plan, and the data and voice entitlements of the new plan are more likely to resemble the RCom’s 3G tariffs instead of its EVDO data packs.
Reliance Communications’ 3G tariffs are slightly more expensive than its corresponding EVDO data plans.
For example, in a city like Mumbai where the operator has both 3G and CDMA Rev B services, it charges Rs 999 for 15 GB of high-speed data on its Rev B (14.7 Mbps) service, while an equivalent recharge on its 3G service will give you only 8 GB of data.
To get 15 GB of data on Reliance’s 3G network in Mumbai, you have to recharge with Rs 1,300.
Similarly, a 250 recharge gives you 1.5 GB of data on its Pro3 service in Mumbai, but only 1.25 GB on its 3G service.
Similarly, in Punjab — another circle where it has both CDMA EVDO Rev B and 3G services, it gives 10 GB of 3G data at Rs 1,400, while you can get the same amount of Rev B data at just Rs 800 in the same circle.
Part of the reason why Rev B data is being given cheaper is because it is supposed to be slower than 3G data, though in practice, both give largely similar access speeds. While Pro3 delivers a bandwidth of 1-2 Mbps, 3G too offers around 1-3 Mbps.
It is expected that SIM upgrade facility will be operational for customers by the 25th of this month. After this date, RCom users will be able to submit their UIM and get a 4G SIM in return.
In the eight circles where MTS is operational, this will be optional, while in the remaining circles, it will be mandatory or the user will lose his or her number when the CDMA service is shut down to make way for 4G.
The 4G SIM will work only in 4G-enabled handsets and not in CDMA handsets.