More reports on: Bharti Tele-Ventures Ltd / Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Telecom, Marketing

As RCom starts switching off, Airtel, Vodafone vie for its clients

28 October 2017

Established telecom operators Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India are making efforts to bring subscribers of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications who will soon be without a network following RCom's decision to shut down major parts of its wireless business and focus on 4G services.

On Saturday, the Sunil Mittal-led Airtel put out front-page advertisements in The Times of India and other publications that says, ''Airtel welcomes Reliance Communications customers, switch to India's fastest network.''

Meanwhile Vodafone has announced two special Voice offers for pre-paid customers in Delhi & NCR joining Vodafone's SuperNet 4G network. The products are aimed at ''providing voice & mobile internet at a cheaper rate in line with our continuous endeavour to come up with great value for money proposition for our existing and new customers''.

Customers who join Vodafone will get unlimited local & STD calls, free national roaming (outgoing & incoming) and 1GB data per day for the First Recharge of Rs496 for 84 days. This recharge will cater especially to heavy internet users and frequent roamers. There is also another offer where a new customer will get unlimited local and STD calling and 1GB data for 28 days at Rs177. These First Recharges are applicable for Mobile Number Portability customers also (See: Vodafone challenges Jio with new Rs177, Rs496 packs for Delhi NCR).

Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications is preparing to shut down its wireless business in the next 30 days, following its failed attempt at merging operations with Aircel. The telecom operator has reportedly informed many of its employees that 30 November will be their last date of employment with the company (See: RCom moves towards closure of 2G 3G services, to focus on 4G).

Gurdeep Singh, executive director of Reliance Telecom, has blamed Reliance Jio for bringing creative destruction through free voice and cheap data services. Notably, the company hasn't made this development of laying off staff official, but an audio recording of Singh's address to employees is doing rounds on social media.

The Anil Ambani-led telecom operator, however, in an official statement, said that it is taking a 4G-focused strategy to achieve profitable growth for its wireless business, even as it will be optimising its 3G and 3G footprint in the country by 30 November. It added that the company will optimise related infrastructure and human resources in the country.

The shakeout in the sector has led to just three big non-state companies remaining in the fray, aside from the government-run BSNL and MTNL.

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