RIL’s big disruptive push on 4G (Part I)
Why RIL’s push into 4G services could be the most disruptive effort in India’s Telecom history?
As Reliance Industries (RIL) readies to launch 4G services in India, it is worth looking at the game plane for RIL – how it plans to disrupt the industry and the present Telecom business paradigm. While there is no launch date for Reliance 4G launch yet, it is expected that RIL will launch its 4G services in 4-7 metros by mid 2013 (3 years after it acquired 4G licences by acquiring Infotel).
The 2300MHz 4G band in India is prohibitively costly for plain carpet area coverage and most of the operators are picking up traffic hotspots to put up their equipments and BTSs. Interestingly enough, RIL’s gameplan of riding on WiFi actually works on the contrary – it will create 30000 hotspots across selected metros which will let users access 4G-LTE network speeds on a WiFi framework. The cost of providing one to one terminal based solutions through a wireless route would have been extremely costly in terms of OPEX and CAPEX. However, RIL has turned this weakness into its strength going through the Fibre Optic route and a MiFi terminal.
- This allows it to serve more devices/ users per terminal thereby reducing cost of servicing per unit device
- It also caters to a segmented strategy – SOHO, SME, HNI Homes, Retail, Enterprise etc.
- Therefore it makes WiFi the short area wireless standard.
Going forward, in the future, RIL will ride on its fibre optic network coupled with Femtocells to increase coverage carpet area. Refer to the illustriation below for understanding of the MiFi zones and Femtocell solutions to cater to focussed carpet areas.
The disruption here is that, by the use of WiFi, RIL will tap into every operator customer by providing a WiFi over-ride on the wireless services of competitors. A XYZ operator customer will also have RIL pre-paid data card which will allow him high speed WiFi in catchment areas- schools, colleges, restaurants, offices, airports, railway stations etc. The XYZ Operator services will only be used for low volume/low value services outside RIL hotspots. Inherently from a customer perspective, he uses bulk of his data/voice plans from only certain catchments (Office, College, Home etc). The service platform of RIL 4G will be device agnostic targeting both wired and unwired devices.