It is still unknown whether Mukesh Ambani led -RIL would opt for a tie -up with an existing player or foray into the voice telephony market by rolling out its own voice services along with its data services.Varied reports have been contradicting each other, speculating its stance on the auction. However, RIL haskept its strategy in wraps without revealingmuch about its 2G strategy.
A few market sources claim that RIL intends to opt for independent data services and has still not made up its mind with respect to its involvement in the 2G auction. Another report by Citi denies the same.Analysts like GauravMalhotra, Arthur Pineda, and JitendarTokas state that RIL will involve an existing player for its voice-data coupled services. This however does notimply that RIL will not participate in the 2G auction aggressively but should avoid large-scale market commotion. They also predict that RIL will embark on a launch in the next 9 to 10 months, as voice market will gain momentum by then. This prediction is however at odds with market sources who claim it to be around June quarter of FY14. However, there are chances RIL may turn the tide by choosing to offer its own voice services.
RIL‘s decision and its next move will turn out to be a game changer in the telecom arena. Hence, every competitor on the field has been waiting anxiously to know its next move. The new Information Memorandum released by the Department of Telecom (DoT) will discourage telcos participating in elections from remaining aggressive on tariffs. At present, the high reserve price for the auction fixed at Rs14, 000crore has deterred many from participating in the same. RIL’s deep pockets will however come to its rescue enabling it to be frontrunner in the race, if it wishes to participate aggressively in the same.
Reliance Infotel is currently the only pan – India 4G license holderthat intends to have its 4G services based on the LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology. The 2G auction holds a lot of significance for the telecom players as voice telephony still serves to be a fundamental feature that tethers with the masses at least until the time data services makes it big in the country. Besides, it will take time for India to get the grip of the pure play data offering and a dual model – voice cum data services, has high chances of being a successful formula.