The country's top operators are busy thrashing out a secure, but totally contactless digital customer acquisition process.
The country’s top three mobile operators are busy thrashing out a secure but totally contactless digital customer acquisition process to arrest a sharp fall in mobile connections sales amid the Covid-19-induced lockdown.
“We are now in Day 8 of the 21-day national lockdown…this is a situation none of us have confronted before…our network operating centers and data centers continue to be operational to ensure smooth functioning of the network, and our field staff continue to be on the road to ensure speedy provisioning of new connections and timely fixing of faults,” Vittal said in a letter to Airtel customers.
Telcos could each take a 1-1.5% one-time hit on revenue if they waive call charges for migrant labourer users.
Rajan Mathews, director general of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which represents Jio, Airtel and Vodafone Idea, said the telcos “were likely to consider the request” as they have always put the interest of their customers first.
In letters to RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani, Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal, VIL chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla and BSNL chairman P K Purwar, Gandhi has called on telcos to “make incoming and outgoing call facilities” on their networks “available in the relevant areas without charge for the next one month” for home-bound migrant workers who have run out of cash on their phone recharges.
Experts though have called on the government to consider a three-month moratorium on operators’ revenue-share commitments for the April-June quarter FY21, which would be more significant relief for the debt-laden telecom sector that is currently reeling under the impact of the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) payments crisis.
The three private telcos have obtained approvals from the DoT to ensure critical workers manning their NoCs – the brains of any mobile communications network – can freely travel amid the pandemic-induced countrywide lockdowns to resolve network-related glitches at a time when bulk of corporate staff across India is working from home.
“Covid-19’s hit on Bharti Airtel is likely to be moderate as prepaid tariff hikes of 20-30% in December 2019 would drive near-and medium-term growth for the company, and regrow its ARPU,” brokerage CLSA said in a note. Prepaid subscribers, it said, account for 94% of Airtel’s 283 million subscribers and that 45-50% of the recharges are happening online.
Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio Infocomm may roll out ‘cells on wheels’ (CoWs) to ease network congestion amid an upsurge in home internet and video services consumption because of lockdowns.
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