Reliance Pre-Paid Tariff Hikes Effective – Incumbents Gain

Reliance Pre-Paid Tariff HikeBeleaguered Integrated Telecom company, Reliance Communications’ has raised its headline voice tariff by ~6.7% to 1.6 paise/ sec (vs 1.5 paise/ sec currently). It is also increasing tariffs on discounted plans by up to 20%. eg.1) Reduced 100 mins of STD to 80 mins of STD on Rs45 voucher; 2) talk time reduced to 400 mins from 500 mins on Rs 148 voucher; 3) talk time reduced to 2,500 mins of on-net from 3,000 mins on Rs 259 voucher.

Incumbent Operators Keep the Indirect Onslaught on Consumers
Though incumbent operators have not (more…)

RCom – Sending Mixed Signals

RCOM’s strategy to pull back free minutes has impacted growth in traffic volume, but we believe this should improve going ahead. Its wireless revenue was up 2% q-q, driven by a 2% q-q increase in minutes. In comparison, Airtel and IDEA saw 5-8% q-q
minutes growth. Some 65% of the revenue mix is from GSM and mobile data, where growth is healthy, and RCOM believes it has stemmed the decline in its CDMA business. It is in the process of converting its CDMA network to data network to support higher levels of data usage.

RCOM added 2.4bn minutes in the quarter, implying 2% q-q growth. In contrast, Airtel and IDEA added 11-12bn minutes, hence recorded growth of 5-8% q-q. RPM remained flat for all the three players, although RCOM’s absolute number of 44p was ahead of Airtel’s and IDEA’s 41-42p. (more…)

RCom raises price of its tariff vouchers significantly

Reliance Communications has hiked prices of some of its special tariff vouchers (STV) significantly (over 20%). For example, a STV of Rs46 is now offering 140minutes of on-net minutes vs. 200minutes earlier. This is the second major tariff hike by RCom in the last 6 months. Earlier, in Sep’12 RCom increased the base tariff of its per second plan by 25% (from 1.2p/sec to 1.5p/sec).

RCom’s recent hike is in-line with our view that voice RPM is likely to move up in the next 2-3 years. RCom and Tata DoCoMo were the initial few operators to create price disruption in the sector. Rational behaviour of RCom and Tata DoCoMo coupled with pull back of Telenor, Aircel, and Videocon from several service areas is likely to lead to better pricing, in our view.

We expect rationalization of discounted/free minutes to happen first followed by hikes in base tariffs. Based on our analysis, rationalization of discounted minutes is likely to increase voice RPM by 20%.

Reliance Communications’ Tariff Hikes in Feb-2013

Along with incumbent GSM Lobby comprising of Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Reliance Communications has carefully hiked voice call tariffs in selected circles and not across India. The following chart shows the Tariff hikes by Reliance Communications in Feb-2013.
What do you think of RCom’s Mobile QoS ? is it poor that it is unable to hike tariffs and command premium like Airtel or Vodafone ?