Sucheta Dalal :RCom goes rural to boost revenues subscriber ba<x>se
Sucheta Dalal

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RCom goes rural to boost revenues, subscriber base  

August 26, 2009


India's Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom) is targeting rural markets to boost its subscriber base and revenues, which are falling in the 'niche' urban areas. The telecom services provider has come up with three new initiatives in high speed internet, value added services (VAS) and machine to machine (M2M) applications.
"The Indian telecom wireless rural subscriber base is now over 125 million. The next wave of telecom growth is emerging from rural India. With rural base expected to double in the next few years, RCom is committed to drive this exponential growth through innovative and ground breaking service offerings and tariffs," said SP Shukla, president for wireless, RCom.
KR Choksey Shares and Securities Pvt Ltd, in a report said with the entry of new operators and decline in mobile termination charge (MTC) it expects operators to increasingly shift to high minutes of usage (MOU) based model to increase network coverage and protect revenue market share as opposed to entering new regions.
During the quarter to end-June, RCom's average revenue per user (ARPU) fell 6% to Rs210 while MOU declined 2% to Rs365 per month, compared with the previous quarter.
With the three new initiatives, RCom expects its revenues to grow 5% to 15% over the next 12 months, said Mahesh Prasad, president for MDCS, RCom. "Our goal is to offer to this large rural population across India, innovative products and services customised for rural and local needs. Rural markets offer significant as well as large-scale opportunity to tap highly potential but relatively unaddressed market topography," Prasad added.
RCom is targeting 20,000 rural locations under its high speed internet connection, BharatNet plan which would be available in all places excluding metros and top 100 cities for Rs98 per week, with a speed of 153kbps and downloads of up to 350MB per week.
Grameen VAS, available at Rs15 per month, would offer mandi prices, agriculture and animal husbandry updates, weather forecast, local information and news, in multiple Indian languages in over 500,000 villages.
RCom's third initiative, machine to machine applications (M2M) provides the rural subscribers an opportunity in automation, surveillance, remote monitoring and data gathering. RCom's M2M includes automation of agro and irrigation services, water level monitoring and data gathering for milk and agri-cooperatives, fisheries, poultry, and soil analysis. - Yogesh Sapkale with Pallabika Ganguly [email protected]

-- Sucheta Dalal