After its spectacular success in porting in high-spending customers using its unlimited voice, data and SMS offer at an effective cost of around Rs 500 per month, Reliance Communications has decided to forge ahead aggressively with an cheap 40-paise-per-minute offer for all India customers.
Under the new scheme, roaming charges will not apply. This is the first plan in India by any mobile operator that removes differential billing when a person is in the home zone and when he or she is in a roaming zone.
Under the scheme, RCom subscribers can pay just 40 paise per minute for local and STD charges whether they are in home network or in roaming. In addition, incoming calls when roaming are free.
In contrast, when users choose ‘free roaming’ plans on other networks, the outgoing call charges remain high – around 72 paise per minute. As a result, even though incoming calls are free on other networks like Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular, the outgoing calls are charged very high. As a result, most subscribers do not bother to activate free roaming schemes.
RCom is the first operator that is breaking away from this trend and offering the same outgoing call rates while in roaming, as at home, in addition to free incoming calls.
In effect, roaming charges has truly become a thing of the past for RCom users.
Under the new scheme, prepaid users have to pay Rs 45 per month as rental for the plan. The rental is not very high compared to what is charged by operators at present. For example, most operators charge about 35-45 rupees a month to cut down call charges to 35-50 paise per minute. However, under those schemes, roaming incoming is chargeable at about Rs 1 per minute, unlike the new offer by Reliance Communications.
It is speculated that the new scheme is intended to help Reliance Communications compete with Reliance Jio, which is scheduled to start operations in a few days. Reliance Jio is also expected to remove all roaming charges.
The Reliance Communications plan is better for post-paid customers who also use data. For example, at a rent of Rs 350 per month, subscribers get 700 minutes of outgoing, 200 minutes of free roaming incoming, 1 GB of 3g data and 100 SMS.
One of the biggest complaints about RCom has been its poor GSM network. However, the company recently inked deals with Aircel and Tata DoCoMo, under which all the subscribers of these companies can use all the three networks for voice calls. As a result, RCom’s network coverage has improved in recently weeks.