Over 70 million of the total 75 million RCom customers are going to lose their mobile service facility from 30 November as the 15 year old telecom operator has decided to shut down its 2G and 3G operations. It would focus only on 4G services going forward.
These customers have no other option but to move to a different operator, within a month, and, most likely, they would like to retain their existing mobile number.
Unlike a year back when there were 12 operators to choose from, RCom customers or otherwise – now are left with 3 or 4 option – Airtel, Jio, Vodafone, Idea and state-run BSNL.
So, the crisis-hit RCom customers have to choose from these operators, and they will have to choose an operator that offers the best network, service stability and affordable tariff plans – for both data as well as voice.
Airtel has already laid out a red carpet welcome for RCom customers.
Lets do a SWOT Analysis of the available options.
Bhart Airtel : As all operators including Airtel offer MNP (mobile number portability) services, the RCom customers can retain their existing mobile numbers and join any operator. However, Airtel seems to gain the maximum number of customers at the current crisis. There are multiple reasons for this.
One, Airtel offers the fastest network as per one Ookla study and it has wider coverage, in terms of geography, compared to any other operator. Second, Airtel is a complete operator offering mobile services on all available technologies – 2G, 3G and 4G. RCom customers, if join Airtel, will get the option to choose their kind of network. This would not happen if they wish to join Jio. To be with Jio, they need to upgrade their current plan to 4G. Third, Airtel now offers unlimited free voice calling, just like Jio, and offers data plans comparable to Jio. Besides, Airtel has also became the first operator in the country to deploy Massive MIMO – a pre-stage to 5G – network. With that, Airtel would like to extend its capacity and offer better services in coming times.
Reliance Jio : Reliance Jio, the newest entrant to Indian telecom space, is a green field operator with latest technologies and network. Its a pure 4G operator and perhaps, offers the best and fastest 4G service in the country, if we go by TRAI’s data. As it does not provide 2G and 3G services, the RCom customers, mostly on these two technologies, have only once choice with Jio – to migrate to 4G, which is not a bad idea at all. While the industry is moving towards 4G and data driving the next generation of services, adopting a data centric 4G service would rather be wise. However, customers should also have the options to take their decision. That would be a miss with Jio.
Vodafone/Idea : The 70 million plus RCom customers may not like to join Idea or Vodafone as these two operators are in the middle of a merger and customers may not be sure how things would change post the merger. They would not like to test troubled waters again, coming out of just now. Also, these two telcos, even post merger, do not seem to invest more on technology, which may leave customers loose out on many services that rivals, Jio and Airtel, would offer in coming times.
BSNL : The state run telecom operator too stand to win from the RCom situations as the operator fares good in all those circles where RCom has its operations, besides Delhi and Mumbai. Also, the operator has come out with some good tariff plans in recent times to counter its rivals, primarily to Jio, and the company is seeing some sort of traction among the customers.