Reliance Communications has invested around Rs 600 crore in establishing a hybrid network for its ‘Netconnect Broadband Plus’ product, which it claims is India’s fastest Internet service.
“The company has upgraded the software in its existing CDMA network to make available high-speed Internet,” said Mahesh Prasad, president of Reliance Communications on Thursday, while launching Broadband Plus. With a downlink speed of up to 3.1 Mbps (megabits per second) and a separate uplink speed of upto 1.8 Mbps, the Broadband Plus service will be available in 35 cities from early next week.
Sources close to the development said that RCOM has invested around Rs 600 crores to establish the pan-India hybrid network for its data business and has a technical tie-up with Alcatel-Lucent to roll out the network. The investment includes the cost of USB modems, the value of the bulk order of which is estimated to be around Rs 300 crore. An RCOM spokesperson declined to confirm the figure.
RCOM is believed to have placed a bulk order for over one million USB modems with two global communication equipment suppliers, Huawei and ZTE.
The Broadband Plus is launched in two USB modem variants, catering to laptop and home PC users separately. The card will be available at Rs 3,500 and users can choose from service plans that range from Rs 299 for pay-per-use to Rs 1,750 for unlimited usage. The company will be retailing the product in 12,000 retail outlets in the country, in addition to 2,300 RCOM outlets.
Establishing a hybrid network is a part of RCOM’s strategy to drive Netconnect subscriber base in India. When a user connects to the hybrid network, the modem will first latch to high-speed data (HSD) network, if available. If HSD is not available it will automatically switch to CDMA telephony. This switching over and back would happen without disconnecting the data call.