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Reliance ready to get back to basics

Calcutta, July 14: Reliance Infocomm (RIL) has decided to launch its basic services nationwide by this month-end even as the much hyped ‘Monsoon Hungama’, the scheme for its limited mobility services, has sparked rumbles of discontent among subscribers over call drops and the lack of handsets to meet demand.

Confirming the move, a senior RIL official said, “The package to be offered for the basic services has been ready. Now, it is only the date that has to be finalised for the launch.”

Under the terms of the proposed offer, a copy of which is in the possession of The Telegraph, a customer has to make an upfront payment of Rs 1,800 for the service. Out of the total payment, Rs 1000 will be treated as a security deposit while Rs 800 will be the installation charges.

In the case of employees of approved companies, the security deposits and installation charges will be waived and no upfront payment is necessary.

For the telephone set, known as ‘fixed wireless phone’ (FWP), the company will not charge anything to the customer.

The telephone sets, which need not be connected with any kind of wire, are being supplied by the Korean giant, LG Electronics.

The offer will constitute four different plans to suit the budget of every customer. These plans are based on monthly rentals. The monthly rental is Rs 250 under Plan I, Rs 500 under Plan II, Rs 1,000 under Plan III and Rs 1,500 under Plan IV. The call charges vary from 30 paise per minute under Plan IV to 40 paise in Plan I for fixed-line to fixed-line up to a 50-km radius. From fixed-line to WiLL phone, the call charges will range from 30 paise to 40 paise; from fixed-line to cell, the charges will be Rs 1.10 to 1.20 for a 50-km circle per minute.

For long distance intra-circle calls to fixed-line (50km100km), the charges will vary from 90 paise to Rs 1.20 and it will range from Rs 2 to Rs 2.40 for calls made over 100 kms. For long distance inter-circle, between 50-200 km, the charges will vary from Rs 2 to Rs 2.40 while more than 200 km, it will range from Rs 4 to Rs 4.80 per minute for fixed-line.

“The FWPs are portable and can be carried in any part of your building to stay connected,” the official said.

The service is being put through trials by installing the instruments at the residences of the employees. The number prefix for the service will be either 30 or 39; the number prefix for the limited mobility service is 31.

The official has also informed that a customer can easily get into the internet with some additional fittings at an one-time payment of Rs 1,200.

While an ordinary customer has to pay Rs 1000 in advance to use the internet, the corporate customers will not have to pay any advance.

The official has further pointed out that a customer can opt for a top-end model of FWP with an additional payment of Rs 2,000.

“This particular model — LP340P — will be very useful for the small and medium business outfits as 10 parallel connections can be given out of a single connection,” he said.

While the company is upbeat about the potential response for its fixed-line offer, industry watchers are sceptical about the network which is far from being sustainable for heavy traffic. The optic fibre network has not been completed in several cities, including Calcutta. The company has laid out an optic fibre network of only 800 km in Calcutta out of the required 3000 km.

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