I have been travelling over the weekend back to my native place which was untouched by the glitz and glamour of the metros. This Diwali seems to be muted; partially because of the economic recession and partly because of the widespread inflation.
I still cannot understand the “mobile story” and “fastest growth” crap. More and more people are migrating towards parallel connections instead of the trickle down effect as expected. Agreed that “lifetime incoming offers” have appealed to the segment of population who keep their mobiles only for incoming calls, the precentage is far and few inbetween. We have no break up of the demographic profile and if the trends are to be seen, much of the money and the effort is being poured in the metros where there is more of a spending power as compared to other cities.
I have three telephone connections; one for regular use, the other a landline for broadband access and the thrid for calling up other Reliance numbers. Overall, I fail to understand as to how they would account for the “churn” or the “fastest growing segment” because I have never been enamoured of using the VAS. The operators know that there bread and butter segment is the voice calls and I am sure that they would implement the VoIP solutions to cut down on their costs. Everything else is flotsam and media generated hype.
In the same vein, most of the other handset manufacturers are clearly not making any efforts to address the cost of the handsets. Barring the advertising costs, if they implement open source solutions for the newer PDA’s, it can reduce the cost of the handsets to a large extent. Google’s Android would effect this to a large extent; though, I would reserve my comments on it till the time I actually get to use it. It’s still in the nascent stage; I am sure it would mature with the next release as they learn from their mistakes.
Vodafone has not addressed the GPRS connection charges; I still have to come across a reliable operator who can ensure a seamless connectivity across the major highways. I would want to access the Internet on a long boring journey; it remains a pathetic experience to even open up the mailbox. I don’t favor the mobile net on the move partly because of my bais for broadband and partly because it’s assinine to peer in the small screen. Unless of course, one has an iPhone and Safari which makes it a pleasure to surf on the small screen. Brilliant conceptual implementation.
The elections are nearing and I am keeping my fingers crossed for some semblance of the maturity on the following government to provide a clear direction to the broadband access and policy. We can do a lot more once we have a reliable connectivity. We dont need fancy laptops for kids in rural India to demonstrate the “modern with rural” mating. Its assinine to pour in money for something which just remains a showcase and earns you f***ing brownie points for “corporate social responsibility”.
This is just a loose string of thoughts as I was travelling back down. Although, it is a fascinating experience to see the rural landscape change. We realise that there is a lot of untapped potential and there is a chance to “change”.