Sources said the service is still being tested and a launch during the first week of December seems likely now. The US-based Comverse Technologies has put together the intelligence network for the pre-paid service. As reported earlier, the pre-paid service will largely centre around the Hungama theme.
Reliance Infocomms current Hungama offer allows new subscribers to sign up at an all-inclusive entry price of Rs 501. The company is said to be mopping up around 30,000 new subscribers everyday. The Rs 501 offer, which began a couple of months ago, was followed up by the Colour Hungama offer where new subscribers were offered multi-coloured handsets.
While details on tariffs are still unavailable for the pre-paid scheme, it is learnt that it would be competitve. As reported earlier, Reliance Infocomm is likely to go with Motorola for the handset deal for the pre-paid service. This will be a stripped down model with a price tag of around Rs 3,000. To date, the company has opted for the Korean majors LG and Samsung to supply its handsets.
Reliance Infocomms entry into the pre-paid segment is significant since the market for wireless services is heavily tilted in that category. In the cellular sphere, around two-thirds of the market comprises pre-paid subscribers today. Out of the incremental subscriber base, close to 80 percent of them opt for pre-paid. Reliance Infocomm is expected to therefore get across to a different and a new category of subscribers. To most service providers, the pre-paid subscribers are a valuable base since there is no chance of delinquency apart from tariffs being higher in the category.