RCom in trouble – May have inflated revenues and evaded license fees to government

anil ambani

India’s Department of Telecommunication had ordered a special financial audit into the books of some telecom operators including RCom, Bharti Airtel, Tata Teleservices, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular. This audit was conducted in May this year and the findings for RCom are out.

Parekh and Co., the official auditors appointed by the government, submitted an audit report to the DoT yesterday whose findings state that for the FY’08 actual wireless revenue earned by the company was only Rs 12,298 crore as against Rs 15,213 crore reported to the shareholders, which is an over reporting of Rs 2,915 crore. It also found that RCom evaded licence fee and spectrum fee to the tune of Rs 315 crore. Continue Reading…

Reliance announces Blackberry Tour for CDMA subscribers

BlackBerry-tour

 

Reliance today announced RIM’s latest Blackberry device dubbed as the Tour. Tour is chic looking device, bragging lots of features in a slim 14.2mm chassis. The CDMA powered Blackberry Tour features global roaming, thanks to GSM and CDMA network support and features a vivid 2.44-inch display, 256MB flash memory, full QWERTY keyboard, 3.2MP camera with flash, full HTML browser, GPS, microSD card support and 1400mAh battery promising to give about 5 hours of talk time and 14 days of standby time.

Reliance will sell the device for Rs. 27,990 but for users booking it by Oct 31, they’ll be eligible for two months of free Blackberry Internet Service.

If GSM Reliance users feel a bit left out, there’s some good news for them too. Reliance has confirmed to launch a GSM version of Tour soon.

India adds 14.38m wireless subscribers in July

This information has just arrived and it’s good to see, there’s no stopping the Indian telecom sector. TRAI let loose the data for the month of July and we’ve got a subscriber reach of 441.66 million from 427.28 million in June. It’s a good increase of almost 3.36 percent.

Amongst the operators, Airtel took the crown for the most new customers – about 2.8m subscribers while Reliance came in second for almost 2.4m and Vodafone with 2.23m subscribers.

RCom adds 3.3 million users in Feb.

rcom

Rcom seems to be on a roll, with largest number of users added in Jan and Feb compared to any other operator in the country. Last month the count stood at 3.3mn, which is higher than what others managed to rope in. RCom believes that the results are a clear sign of the operators increasing dominance in the Indian Telecom market. 

We Say: Though these figures represent GSM as well as CDMA users, the numbers are expected to increase in the coming months. We are of the view that this is the beginning of RCom’s continuous attempt to strengthen its foothold in the market. 

Who’s standing where: GSM Market Share update

With the additions done and dealt with, let’s have a look at the market shares and user base of these GSM operators. Here it goes:

  • Airtel - 32.88% – 91,114,971
  • Vodafone - 23.79% – 65,920,902
  • BSNL - 15.94%  - 44,180,880
  • Idea - 14.98% – 41,518,613
  • Aircel - 6.31% – 17,476,962
  • Reliance - 3.88% – 10,744,953
  • MTNL - 1.47% – 4,084,579 
  • BPL - 0.75% – 2,073,184 

We Say: With Bharti adding the highest number of users to its kitty each month, it is unlikely that it will lose its position. However, Vodafone is trying its level best to reach closer by adding around the same number of users as Airtel. BSNL and Idea also seem to be battling it out for the third position. Though Reliance may seem to be a small player out here, it is adding large number of users each month and we expect to see it climbing up the rankings soon. 

Reliance launches 2 killer prepaid plans in UP

 

Reliance CDMA users in Uttar Pradesh have even more reasons to cheer. RCom has launched a couple of prepaid plans targeting CDMA plans who feel the need to make STD calls to other Relaince users. The two recharges targets users who buy bulk recharges, evident by their recharge values of Rs.2,222 and Rs4,444.

The former i.e. 2,222 gives users free local and STD talktime to other RCom users of 500 minutes every month for 12 months. The latter too gives users the same amount of free minutes each month, not for 12 months, but for lifetime. Overall the plans look quite great but we the operator would surely charge the users more for calls to other operators.

Reliance GSM boasts about its 3G capabilities

Reliance is positioning itself as a 3G ready service provider. Go to its site and you are welcomed by an ad, which boasts about its sim cards being 3G ready. This is not all, as it has self acclaimed its own plans to be the best one being offered currently.

Given below is a gist of the call and SMS charges:

  • Local calls and SMS: Re.1
  • STD Calls: Rs.1.5
  • Incoming calls (roaming): Re.1
  • National SMS: Rs.1.5

All this comes with a sim card that is 3G ready and will allow you to make the best of it, only if it launched. With regards to the top-up options on offer, you can opt for a Rs.10 recharge, which gives you talktime of Rs.6.9 to Rs. 100 recharge with talktime of Rs.87.

Swan ownership under the microscope

Swan, the telecom operator which received the license to start services last year, is under the lens of the telecom authorities. The reason – the ownership structure of the operator goes against the rules set by the governing bodies. Here’s the scenario in simple terms:

  • According to the guidelines, a telecom operator cannot hold more than 10% stake in another operator.
  • Reliance holds about 10% stake in the company, with the other investor being Tiger Traders.
  • It is learnt that the Board of the latter(Tiger) has Reliance employees.
  • Also, Reliance had also given a huge lot of redeemable preference shares to Swan, which might have an impact on their stake.

Reliance, however, states that it has a 9.9% stake, which adheres to the regulations. Currently, the DoT has asked the MCA or the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to look into the matter.

Results for TRAI’s Service Survey

If there is one thing that can gauge the performance of the operators’ service in the Telecom industry, it’s TRAI’s service survey. This survey is undertaken to understand operator performance on parameters like pre-sales and sales, network availability, value-added service (VAS), customer care and billing . The final score is a percentage with 90% being the cut-off set by the governing body. Here are how the results looked like: Continue Reading…

RCom launches GSM in Mumbai

Subsequent to RCom’s nationwide launch of GSM, it has announced its GSM start up in Mumbai with a bang. To take the competition head-on it is offering extremely lucrative offers and start-up packs. Here are the details:

  • RCom is offering its GSM SIM cards (pre paid) for a mere amount of Rs 25.
  • The SIM cards come with a subscription validity of 6 months.
  • Every subscriber gets free talk time worth Rs. 900 spread over 90 days i.e. a new subscriber would get Rs 10 talktime every day for the first 90 days.
  • Call rates: Local – Re 1/min; STD Rs 1.50/min to any network
  • Subscribers can recharge using top-up cards ranging from Rs 10 to Rs 500.
  • If this was not enough, Reliance GSM users will also get unlimited night calling (10 PM to 6 AM) on Reliance network (both GSM and CDMA) absolutely free through out Mumbai, Maharashtra and Goa, giving access to seven million Reliance phones in this region.

We say: Not bad at all. Reliance is offering Rs 900 worth talk time, half year validity, plus a lot of free stuff only for Rs 25. This start-up pack will definitely tempt mobile users to at least try their services.