16 May 2011
India’s Reliance Communications is not concerned so much with subscriber number gains as much as adding high-value customers.
The carrier’s president of its corporate and wireless division Anurag Prashah told the Press Trust of India that while the company may appear to have borne the brunt of the nationwide MNP launch earlier this year, the bulk of its customer losses fell within the low-value customer segment.
Prashar added the company had been fairly successful at gaining corporate customers, with around 10,000 such customers ported in to date.
Data from the Cellular Operators Association of India pegged RCom as the biggest loser from the MNP launch, with a combined net loss of around 1.07 million users as of April 28. The company’s GSM operations fared badly with around 745,877 port-outs and just 130,167 port-ins. RCom’s CDMA services did slightly better, losing 368,588 customers and gaining just 13,551.
Despite the customer losses, RCom remained India’s second largest cellular operator with a 130 million strong customer base as of April.
Prashar claimed the numbers game had been affected by SIM card retailers who would promote certain operators over others in favour of larger commissions. Retailers used to get a 50 rupee commission for every port-in, but certain operators have increased the amount to 150 rupees even for the port-in of a low ARPU customer, said Prashar.
He said RCom did not believe in offering incentives to retain customers as it was a short-sighted approach, adding the company expected to see a turnaround in customer gains by July.
Since MNP’s launch in India, around 4 million users out of 771 million have switched providers. Vodafone Essar, Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular gained most from the switch, while state-run BSNL registered the second-highest net loss of 409,968 users.