Reliance Infocomm will launch its code division multiple access (CDMA) prepaid card services under the Reliance India Mobile (RIM) brand name on February 4.
During a webcast address to company employees on Friday, Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), said that RIM will target a 10 million subscriber base by the end of May. The RIM services were launched in May last year.
According to a sources, during the webcast, Ambani also said that with the launch of its CDMA prepaid cards, RIM will witness a significant growth in the next few months. At present its subscriber base stands at seven million across the nation.
“Three million subscribers are expected to be added in the next four months which will help RIM to touch a 10 million subscriber base,” he said.
A senior Reliance Infocomm official denied to divulge further information on Ambani’s address to around 20,000 employees.
Reliance Infocomm, as part of its prepaid services, has tied up with the US-based Comverse Technologies for the prepaid card system.
“The Comverse prepaid system already supports more than 30 different languages and currencies and could be easily adapted to the multi-language needs of India,” said a source in Comverse.
The Comverse prepaid system, which can be configured to run in all major wireless network environments, will support the IS-826 IN standard in the Reliance Infocomm network.
“Reliance plans to utilise the flexibility of the Comverse prepaid system to offer a variety of services in each market such as distance-based charging and concurrent tariffing schemes,” the source added.
It is also learnt that Reliance Infocomm will opt for an upfront payment in the Rs 2,500-3,000 range for a prepaid subscriber.
The service will come bundled with a Motorola CDMA handset. The company may also offer Nokia and Samsung handsets for new prepaid subscribers in the second phase.
There has been a steady fall in the average revenue per user in the Indian mobile market. One of the key reasons for this trend is the burgeoning prepaid subscriber base.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India studies show that nearly 70 per cent of the domestic mobile subscriber base was prepaid in 2002-03.
“Unlike RIM’s postpaid CDMA services, there will not be any financial obligation on a subscriber if he wants to surrender his connection. This will definitely help the company to explore markets in smaller towns and cities,” an expert said.