Reliance Communications, the telecom service from the Anil Ambani stable, has again put up a section on its website giving details about its new 4G service.
The section was first unveiled about ten days ago, and was taken off soon after, setting off speculation that the company’s having trouble activating its roaming agreement with network partner Reliance Jio.
The new 4G page now shows tariffs for four circles, and not three, as was the case when it was taken down.
The four circles are Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Mumbai and Maharashtra. When the page was first put up last month, only Mumbai tariffs were available.
According to the detals unveiled so far, the prepaid 4G packs in Mumbai are more expensive compared to those in other places, with 1 GB costing around Rs 300 compared to Rs 250 in other places.
The 10 GB pack has been priced at Rs 1,389 in Gujarat, while it costs Rs 1,349 in Maharashtra and Rs 1,399 in Andhra Pradesh. In Mumbai, the same prepaid pack costs a whopping Rs 1,857.
The situation is reversed when one looks at postpaid prices. In Mumbai and Andhra Pradesh, 10 GB per month of 4G data on Reliance Communications will cost you Rs 1,500 plus taxes, while in Maharashtra and Gujarat, it will set you back by about Rs 2,050 including taxes.
This is pretty steep, even by the standards of companies like Vodafone and Airtel.
Vodafone, which used to be the most expensive 4G service provider in India till RCom announced its prices, offers 20 GB for Rs 2,500 in circles like Kerala.
The high tariff has led to speculation that these are not the real long-term 4G tariff plans of Reliance Communications, but are merely meant to serve as a place holder till Jio, its network partner, is ready to launch its commercial operations.
In addition, there are unconfirmed reports that the company will allow some of its most lucrative and loyal customers to continue with their old tariff plans till full-scale launch.
RCom used to be the cheapest wireless data provider along with MTS, which it has since acquired.
Tata Teleservices, another provider of cost-efficient wireless internet services, is also planning to upgrade its services to 4G in select circles, according to recent media reports.
That will leave BSNL as the sole provider of high-speed data and voice services on CDMA technology in India, though the state-owned company does not provide its service in all areas.
The latest move by RCom to restore the 4G section of its website has come as a relief to lakhs of subscribers who are waiting for days and weeks for the company to complete its migration from CDMA technology to LTE and reconnect them.
Lakhs of RCom subscribers have opted to move to 4G instead of porting out of the company as it closes down its CDMA networks, but have also found themselves stranded as RCom struggled to get its 4G service up and running.
RCom is giving 4G services on two bands — 5 and 3 — in tie-up with Reliance Jio. The arrangement requires a lot of backend processing by Reliance Jio and unprecedented coordination between the two operators.
Other than the four circles mentioned above, 4G services in Madhya Pradesh, Kolkata, Delhi and UP are supposed to come online this week, followed by Punjab, Odisha and Bihar next week.