There is no authoritative verdict on Indian Telecom scene. In the absence of any concrete statistics, it becomes difficult to pin down the exact number of subscribers, the actual growth of the telecom sector and value added services.
TRAI releases it’s numbers from the industry proclamations; it has not thought to independently audit the claims. Neither does the Department of Telecom (or may be that I am unaware of any such publication in the mainstream media). I have criticized 3G on many occasions and I see no merit in sinking in huge amount of funds on a technology which would get outdated in rapidly evolving 4G standards. All the more, India missed a golden opportunity to set up it’s own standards for mobile telephony thus forcing the mobile operators to set up an ecosystem of not only the entire gamut of the telecom equipment but handsets also. It would have spurred on demand for quality and generated much better employment prospects than importing the crap dip shit that we are forced to put up with now.
No handset comes closer in terms of oomph and style; something of the likes of an Apple iPhone with it’s iTunes store. While it is profitable, something similar is next to impossible to find here in India- the market of apps is right there but there is no serviceable product.
Nokia has failed terribly; I am definitely impressed by the new layout of it’s Ovi Store but trying to find an app that works across all platforms is like looking for a needle in a haystack. To worsen the matters, the price quoted is in Euros. If any asshole from Nokia India is reading this, please understand that its not possible to pay in Euros here because THAT is NOT the national currency. Besides that, none of the applications are a must have. No wonder, the Finns are getting clobbered left right and centre; the market share has definitely slid down to 60% as per the estimates.
This brings me to the final question. If we dont really have apps or the snazzy and the jazzy handsets, what are we really fighting for? Why should 3G should really be auctioned?
If Internet connectivity is the SOLE criterion, then public Wifi’s should be set up. The Wifis should be free for access upto a certain speed limit; beyond that a price mechanism be set up for higher access speeds. Or broadband initiative be accelerated with the huge amount of Universal Service Obligation Fund (last heard it had swelled up to 18,000 crores). But well, since the lobby market exists in a big way, we can only hope.
For a better round up of the telecom scenario, please read an insightful write up on Knowledge@Wharton write up.