Posts tagged ‘Reliance Communications’
Following a string of recent GSM-based service launch announcements, Indian mobile operator Reliance Communications (RCOM) has said it has now completed its nationwide GSM footprint, the Business Standard reports. As RCOM announced its most recently launched GSM infrastructure, adding coverage of more than 50 towns and 5,000 villages in the Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) circle, RCOM President SP Shukla, said, ‘The launch of Reliance Mobile’s GSM services in J&K marks the completion of the company’s nationwide footprint, which already covers over one billion Indians in other states of the country.’ January 2009 saw the cellco announce GSM launches in Mumbai, Rajasthan and Punjab, while earlier this month Delhi was added to the list of regions in which RCOM offered its GSM-based services.
India’s Economic Times is reporting that Reliance Communications (RCOM) has launched GSM-based mobile services in the capital Delhi, following a string of GSM rollouts across the country. The operator has installed approximately 950 new cellular towers in the region for the launch, and is expected to share the existing infrastructure of its CDMA-based operations in the circle; it has around 850 existing towers in Delhi. Initially only pre-paid GSM services are available, although RCOM has indicated that post-paid options will be offered in approximately three weeks.
Reuters is reporting that Norwegian telecoms group Telenor has withdrawn plans to carry out a share issue to fund investment in Indian cellco Unitech Wireless. Telenor has announced it will instead raise funds for the mobile operator through cash flow and net debt, also revealing that it has signed a USD1.2 billion three-year loan agreement. The company has also proposed that there will be no dividend payout in 2008 or 2009. Commenting on the development a statement from the operator noted, ‘Closing of the Indian transaction is subject to certain conditions being fulfilled…(and) Telenor anticipates that this will take place during the first quarter of 2009.’
In separate but related news, Unitech Wireless is reportedly in talks regarding a tower sharing arrangement with Reliance Communications (RCOM) and Tata Teleservices (TTSL). A tower sharing agreement is one of the preconditions of the Telenor acquisition of a 60% stake in Delhi-based Unitech Wireless.
Indian cellco Reliance Communications (RCOM) has revealed a 2.7% rise year-on-year in consolidated net profit for the three months ended 31 December 2008. Net profit for the quarter stood at INR14.1 billion (USD286.7 million), up from INR1.37 million a year earlier. Revenues for the operator also rose against the same period last year, climbing 20% to INR58.5 billion, whilst earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 11% y-o-y to INR23.5 billion. RCOM attributed the growth to the increased subscriber numbers, boosted by the launch of GSM and DTH services. RCOM chairman and managing director has announced that the cellco will reduce CAPEX for the next financial year to INR150 billion, down from the INR250 billion it has planned for the existing year; the operator claims to have spent INR160 billion so far this financial year ending March.
RCOM’s subscriber base climbed to 61.35 million at the end of December 2008, up from 56.05 million a year earlier, with the operator reporting that it had signed up ten million customers to its GSM-based services since launch in December 2008. RCOM has announced that its GSM network coverage will expand to approximately 24,000 towns from the current 14,000 it covers in the near future.
In separate but related news RCOM has also announced that it has integrated its GSM and CDMA services in the Orissa circle, and will now offer both under the united banner of ‘Reliance Mobile’. The cellco has claimed that merger will allow it to better utilise its resources and improve growth prospects.
Reliance Communications (RCOM) and Etisalat are in discussions that could see the latter gain access to RCOM’s wireless tower infrastructure. Etisalat holds a 45% stake in new mobile licencee Swan Telecom, and it is believed that, subject to an agreement, the new player would use RCOM’s infrastructure, which is managed by RCOM subsidiary Reliance Infratel, to launch operations. It is believed that a revenue sharing model has been mooted as part of the agreement, with revenues from the deal expected to be around INR16 billion (USD329.9 million) annually. Etisalat paid USD900 million for its stake in the cellco in September 2008. Swan is expected to launch commercial services in the first quarter of 2009.
India has added a record 8.12 million GSM mobile users in December, according to data from the Cellular Operators’ Association of India. Total GSM mobile users at the end of December numbered 258 million, up 3.25 percent from 249.7 million in November. Bharti Airtel led the growth by adding 2.7 million new users, taking its total base to about 87 million. Vodafone Essar ranked second with an addition of 2 million users, taking its total base to about 60 million. Idea Cellular added close to 1 million subscribers, to take its total base to 38 million. BPL mobile has added close to 65,000 subscribers in December, a decline of about 9,000 users compared to about 74,000 in November. BPL mobile’s total subscriber base reached 1.9 million. Bharat Sanchar Nigam has added 800,000 users, taking its total base to 41 million.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) disclosed that GSM operators Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar have the busiest telecom networks in the country, after conducting an analysis.
This aspect was being recorded by TRAI on a monthly basis across the country. The regulator stated the congestion levels were way above the permissible limit during the quarter ended September 08 in as many as 129 places. Nevertheless, the overall congestion levels which was as high as 526 in 2006 came down to 134 places in the quarter ended June 2008.
The congestion besides causing call drops and deterioration of voice quality, also forces consumers to make repeated attempts to get through to another subscriber.
The regulator has a set a benchmark of less than 0.5% for the congestion levels indicating that out of 200 calls between two operators only one call should face congestion problem. This level is tracked by TRAI by evaluating the congestion levels at the Points of Interconnection (PoI), which are the places where mobile traffic is exchanged between the networks of different operators.
Bharti Airtel has the largest number of PoI’s having a congestion of 41 followed by Vodafone with 22. Reliance Communications and Idea has 19 each. The circles most affected due to network congestion are Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh (West) and Himachal Pradesh.