By this time, it is apparent.
The Tata’s seemed to have “read this blog” and decided to exit from it’s ill advised venture-Idea. It was a bad idea after all to have stake in two companies that were competing against each other!
Idea is fairly protfitable venture and Birlas now hold the commanding stake. The Average Revenue Per User is fairly robust and invariably, there are comparisons with the “market leader” Airtel for the same. I had used Idea once in New Delhi and was thoroughly disappointed with the congested networks. It didn’t just work out.
Anyway, the companies sell mostly on advertisements without making an claims about the quality of services.
Tata’s seem to have belatedly realise the white elephant they are saddled with in form of VSNL. I am getting a lot of comments about their shoddy services. If it is true (since I have no means to verify), then it doesn’t augur well for Tata’s. As the word spreads, people become more interested in finding out the potential service provider and they read user reviews, I wonder whether Tata’s would be able to face the bad press they have generated for themselves all over the Internet and among their existing user base. This reminds me of their nil investments in fixed line telephony and instead reliance on cables strung on poles and junction boxes! Yea God’s! Nothing could be worse for them.
Reliance seems to be stepping up it’s pace for Broadband. They have been totally ill advised for creating a buzz around a product; now they would enter market with high expectations from them as service providers. If they offer 300k as “broadband” and marginally better/ worse than BSNL, they would be commiting suicide straight away. Unless, they raise the stakes. Ideally, they ought to have the Techwhack team on board to “advice” them on what problems users face. We could give them enough reason to “think”; in return, no holds barred bandwidth is all I ask for.
Still, the way they have focussed entirely on the mobile business would be death knell in the fixed land line business. First and foremost, there is hardly any “churn” in fixed line telephony. I have the same BSNL number as I had 30 years ago. It did change with changing times and shifting of the exchanges. True. However, the point here is that I have been forced to put up without any choice so far.
Airtel isn’t scaling up to the required need. They have a notional presence in couple of cities across India which gives them something to crow about being the “largest private player”! The stupidity is compounded by the fact that they “focussed” on those areas where there is intense competition to reach out. They could have chosen the class B and C circles (depending on the socio economic status) and scaled up from there. First, there is an untapped and latent demand. Secondly, a virgin market to sell bundled computers with fixed line telephony.
I believe that MBA’s from IIM can sell toothpastes, spout enough corporate crap about “customer”, but can’t make the “magic happen” in rural areas where they would come cropper.
I remain wedded to the idea of having high speed Broadband networks on fixed lines and wireless for mobility and voice calls. I have been reading the exciting new developments where a usual GSM network phone can work on the local “hotspot” i.e. WiFi. That would be really exciting. Nokia seems to have made some headway here.
Data ought to come from fixed lines. I can’t claim anything for the spoiled executives in plush cars who need to have blackberry stapled on them like hairs on their puckered holes. Mercifully, they remain a very silent minorty and companies can focus on improving their voice based networks for a change.