Telecom operator Reliance Communications (RCom) Tuesday announced the launch of a high-speed wireless internet service plan and other initiatives aimed at 500,000 villages.
"RCom's rural thrust would drive internet penetration across rural and suburban terrain and provide value-added services specific to the rural needs," said RCOM's wireless division president S.P. Shukla.
"The Indian telecom wireless rural subscriber base is now over 125 million. The next wave of telecom growth is emerging from rural India. With rural base expected to double in the next few years, RCom is committed to drive this exponential growth through innovative and ground-breaking service offerings and tariffs," said Shukla.
According to RCom president Mahesh Prasad, mobile telephony is rapidly overcoming the challenge of access in rural areas.
"Our goal is to offer to this large rural population innovative products and services customized for rural and local needs, and tap the highly potential but relatively unaddressed market topography," Prasad said.
The company's rural drive will comprise three initiatives: BharatNet Plan, GrameenVAS and M2M (Machine to Machine) solutions.
The BharatNet Plan, a high-speed wireless Internet service, will cover over 20,000 rural locations, and is RCom's strategy to drive rural Internet penetration.
BharatNet will be offered at Rs.98 a week. "Driving Internet penetration across the country beyond major cities is a key priority for us," said Prasad.
GrameenVAS will offer value-added services (VAS) to cater to specific needs of rural mobile phone users. Services will include providing market rates, agriculture and animal husbandry updates and weather forecast in multiple Indian languages.
M2M applications will aid automation of agro- and irrigation services, water level monitoring, data gathering for milk and agri-cooperatives, fisheries, poultry, and soil analysis.