Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications has started giving 4G service to users who recently moved from CDMA to GSM in circles like UP East, but the operators’ new 4G tariff could surprise the users.
RCom was known for its cheap data plans, but according to people in the UP East circle, the new 4G tariff plans are anything but cheap.
According to them, RCom’s new 4G prices are exactly the same as those of Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone — the big three in India’s telecom world.
UPDATE: Please see the comments section for confirmation of the tariff plans. User Najeeb has uploaded the relevant tariff chart for Maharashtra and Goa circle, which also show similar tariff. (see picture on the right)
Though no official confirmation about the new rates are available, early information suggests that the company is going to offer 1 GB for around Rs 250, 2 GB for Rs 450, 3 GB for Rs 650 and 5 GB for Rs 850.
Even for high volume users, the prices are comparable at Rs 1,350 for 10 GB for one month.
These are exactly the plans that the big three operators offer for their 3G and 4G offerings across the country, and have been blamed for keeping data out of the reach for the vast majority of Indians.
It was expected that thanks to the higher capacity offered by 4G (up to 8 times that of 3G), the price of data would fall sharply. For example, RCom’s 4G network partner — Reliance Jio — already has nearly two-and-a-half times the high-speed capacity that India’s biggest operator, Bharti Airtel has.
As a result, it was expected that Reliance Jio and RCom will offer cheap 4G data rates — both to attract more users to its network as well as to ensure maximum utilization of their network.
Jio, for example, is likely to have a capacity of up to 1 billion GB per month by the time it gets ready to launch by the end of the year. Assuming that it is able attract 10 cr (100 mln) users in the first year, that should leave about 10 GB per month per person. However, accounting for reduced usage at night, practical capacity would be around 5 GB per user per month — about 6 times the average 3G consumption in India. The operator is currently offering unlimited data and voice till it launches its services on a commercial basis.
However, RCom’s new tariff — if initial reports are correct — is likely to come as a shock to its CDMA upgrade customers.
Its CDMA high-speed service was among the most affordable data services in the country, offering 40 GB for Rs 999. However, under the new plan, you get only 7 GB for Rs 1050.
Even its 15 Mbps service — which was billed a premium data offering — used to give 20 GB for a recharge of Rs 999 in Western UP.
Part of the reason why the 4G data rates may be higher than expected could be that it being provided under a sharing and roaming agreement with Jio.
However, Reliance will continue to provide voice services using its own GSM network, and call rates will continue to be substantially lower than those of incumbent operators like Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone.
For example, even under 4G plans, the company will offer rates of 30 paise per minute of voice calls. It will also offer full talktime on recharges of Rs 80 or more.