Reliance Jio Infocomm has, perhaps, got one of the biggest mobile contracts in the country by bagging the Closed User Group (CUG) mobile communication network for the entire Indian Railways. The contract finalized by RailTel has come into effect from January 1.
The advanced LTE/voLTE 4G mobile connections for railway CUG contract is for a three-year period till November 2021 for 3.78 lakh users across the entire railway network with an additional 7200 connections for sending bulk SMS messages.
The network provider has taken over from the previous mobile network of Bharti Airtel and number portability has happened without any SIM card cost to the purchaser. Four mobile plans have been cleared — ‘Plan A’ for senior officers rank with 60 GB and monthly rental of ₹ 125, ‘Plan B’ for junior officers with 45 GB with Rs 99 monthly rental, ‘Plan C’ for Group C staff for 30 GB and ₹67 monthly rental and ‘Plan D’ for just bulk SMS.
All zonal railways, centralized training institutes, recruitment boards and others have been advised to make use of the scheme by the Railway Board in a circular issued last month. Sixteen dedicated technical personnel from Reliance Jio have been asked to station themselves at the 16 railway zonal headquarters to ensure a smooth transfer and handle any issues. Quarterly meetings between RailTel and Reliance Jio will discuss on the way forward if there is any reduction in the tariff. Reliance will be submitting details of all CUG connections activated for each railway unit every month to RailTel and it would, in turn, submit a quarterly report to the RB.
The mobile network has been tasked to provide 92.5 percent coverage within six months and 95 percent within a year or face penalty of 5 to 10 percent to be imposed on a monthly basis. Speedier mobile network of LTE/voLTE 4G has also forced most railway staff to go for a new compatible device. Reliance Jio has put up stalls at all railway offices offering two kinds of phones at a discount costing about Rs 600 and Rs 1200, respectively. There is also a discount of 10 percent for any other mobile purchased from Reliance outlets.
Several railway employees, at least here, have brought ‘basic smartphones’ which are 4G-enabled but have to be operated through the keyboard. “Getting back to using the keyboard has become a challenge, but more crucially the phone is hanging often,” complain railway officials, seeking anonymity. The phones, especially the lower-end ones costing less than Rs 1000 are becoming blank when kept for charging and return to working mode only if the battery is removed and inserted again.―The Hindu