Well, my insider sources are not willing to confirm nor deny the move.
As far as the usage impression goes, Connect betters BSNL only in customer apathy. Though, recently faced with the onslaught of competition, there was a clear directive from the top bosses to shape up or ship out.
Long time back, I had approached Connect office to provide me with dial up connectivity. The screwed up idiot was hell bent on providing me with ISDN- a premium service in his opinion. Despite promises of high usage, they refused to extend the wireline to my place. Interestingly, they were insisting that I pick up CoRDect- a wireless mode of Internet access.
The buyout rumours might be true. HFCL’s script has shown it the way. It rose significantly in yesterday’s day trading on BSE.
Interestingly, Reliance has dug up only those areas in my city where HFCL Connect isn’t offering it’s services. I was indeed surprised in recent times that they are not going to high density zones. Yet, this is just a pointer and perhaps future might reveal the truth.
Reliance would be well poised to get a deal for HFCL. They would have a captive base for landline customers some of them who have been stupid enough to go along with promises of 400 MB “free limit”. However, HFCL had chalked out plans on the lines of Reliance Web World under the brand name “Planet Connect”. They misleadingly claim about surfing at 1Mbps; the bandwidth is distributed to different terminals. Either, this was a ploy to get higher value addition to the imminent sale or stupidity of monumental proportions. HFCL has by and large a small regional player; with no depth of the market. Neither, there is any buzz around the company.
So, it cannot hope to get on even ground with Reliance or Airtel. Plus, it is sorely dependent on bandwidth from the biggies.
Overall, it would be a great buyout for Reliance. A solid deal. And perhaps help them to roll out their Broadband services to exisitng and new customers.
Exciting times indeed. By the way, this is the only place where it is being reported; Google News hasn’t picked this up so far!
You can read the old posts on HFCL Connect:
1) Smaller Telecom Operators of India. I had written in about Connect:
Do we need these smaller players? Well the answer is yes and no. Smaller players lack the marketing muscle of the bigger ones. They are encumbered to localized regions and cannot offer economies of scale. However, the smaller players can offer faster customer response times. Sadly, this fact has not really reflected as far as Connect is concerned. I have mailed and personally talked to the people in charge for extending the services to my area, which they consistently refuse to do so. I gave up in disgust.
For how long can they sustain themselves? Spice Punjab has announced plans to expand in other markets. Connect is opening up it’s browsing centres on the pattern of Reliance Web World. While this is belated entry, it is enough to attract puppy crowds towards what they call as Broadband. It seems that much of the time is spent on chatting. So much for the “millions of Internet subscribers” do to access Internet. It cannot be generalised but a cross section of the surfers mainly use for Emailing and the like. A minorty are power users. It remains to be seen as to how HFCL survive.
Airtel hasn’t made any major moves in the market so far.
This post was prompted by imminent buy out by VSNL/ Airtel. It didn’t materialise. Does it mean this Reliance buyout is another rumour? We’d have to wait.
3) In Interesting Developments I had reported back that Connect is setting up it’s Planet Connect showrooms.
Interestingly, the top searches for HFCL Connect point towards this blog