Reliance Communications, India’s fourth largest operator, is set to migrate around 5 million CDMA users to Reliance Jio Infocomm’s fledgling 4G network, starting next month.
RCom is taking advantage of a spectrum sharing pact it signed with Jio Infocomm back in January of this year. The substantial migration of subscribers will be carried out in a phased approach, starting from 4 May.
The subscribers will remain with Reliance Communications, although services will be delivered over 4G infrastructure belonging to Reliance Jio Infocomm. This approach offers capex and opex savings to debt-ridden RCom.
The first four circles to be migrated will be Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, or Punjab, and Odisha. These will be followed by the Mumbai and Delhi circles, with the aim to complete the process by 15 August.
To encourage customer migration, RCom will offer deals on 4G handsets, possibly in collaboration with Reliance Retail. Sources told Economic Times that the operator could offer bundled 4G handsets under installment plans to encourage users to change.
RCom will join larger rivals Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular in offering 4G services.
Other debt reduction measures currently being worked on by RCom include selling its towers and merging its mobile business with that of Aircel.