The Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Communications said it signed Inter-circle roaming alliance with its rivals for seamless roaming across 3G circles in India. Inadequate roaming was one of issues that impacted the growth of 3G in India.
This means, Reliance Communications’ 11.1 million 3G customers can benefit from roaming in beyond 13 circles, where it has 3G presence. At present, Reliance Communications, which competes with Bharti Airtel, Tata Teleservices, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, etc. has 3G presence in circles such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Assam, North East, Jammu & Kashmir.
Reliance Communications is expected to increase the number of its 36.2 million data customers by offering better data services across the country.
3G roaming has been a contentious issue in India because several operators have allegedly violated government policies on telecom sector.
“These alliances will further consolidate RCOM’s position as the leading data operator in the country and will help the company improve its post-paid and Corporate customer market share,” said Gurdeep Singh, CEO — Consumer Business — of Reliance Communications.
But the main issue with 3G service in India is lack of 3G coverage in cities and towns because several telecom operators did not invest substantially in 3G networks. Most of the 3G consumers complain about poor network quality. In most occasions, 3G does offer 2G speed.
After spending on huge spectrum fee in 2010, carriers such as Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Idea Cellular, Aircel, Vodafone, Tata Teleservices did not focus on improving QoS to add 3G customers. This has impacted 3G growth. This is despite the availability of cost effective 3G handsets from top smartphone vendors such as Micromax, Karbonn, Samsung, Nokia, etc.