Reliance Communications is not charging customers for migrating them from CDMA to GSM in certain states such as Kerala.
It is also providing the ‘4G’ SIM free of charge in these places. In other words, customers do not have to pay anything to migrate to the GSM network, while in the first 17 circles, they had to do a specific migration recharge.
The last four states undergoing the changeover of technology are Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Rajasthan.
The move may have something to do with the urgency and importance placed by RCom in trying to retain as many of its CDMA customers as possible as it shuts down the legacy network to make way for 4G LTE.
The so-called 4G upgrade process has been as smooth as everyone expected in some of the previous 17 circles, and many RCom customers have found themselves trapped between a disappearing CDMA network and a GSM network that is yet to accept them.
Though Reliance had promised to activate 4G on the newly migrated connections, many users who opted for the 4G upgrade offer have found themselves confined to RCom’s GSM network.
The company has not revealed what percentage of its CDMA subscribers have taken up its GSM migration offer and what percentage have used mobile number portability to shift to rival networks. It recently said the process was going very smoothly from its perspective.
Making the process free of charge is likely to increase the retention rates.
Reliance Communications has the unenviable task of shutting down an existing live network and creating a new 4G network using the same frequency, all without incurring the wrath of customers whose services are disrupted by the changeover.
The move from CDMA technology, besides causing service disruption, also makes millions of handsets and dongles useless. Most RCom subscribers use CDMA phones that are tied to the operator and cannot be used on rival operators’ networks without subjecting them to sophisticated hacking techniques.