Ha! This was totally unexpected. BSNL has alleged that TRAI’s faulty policies are hampering it’s growth across various circles. It was big news but then allegations are difficult to prove otherwise.
A much more prudent option would be to analyze the situation and fix the guilty party. TRAI, to my understanding remains out of bounds for the general public. A public body ought to formulate the policies by LISTENING to them rather than stick around in isolation. Yet, it remains open to lobbyists of all hues and the post retirement bonanza is always an option for the retiring bureaucrats.
Remember Baijal? He had done nothing revolutionary while in TRAI but the worst part was that he went on to join some kind of a rag tag consortium of the private players as a “facilitator”. The exact details elude me since I had read this in one of the weekly magazines (for which I don’t have time now). Loosely translated, it is the big boys club where they are known for their wheeling dealings and lobbying since these guys are fully aware of the levers of power.
What this means for you and me? It means that SMS would be atrociously charged even though it is FREE for the telecom companies; customer care is a farce because these are fronts for these companies as the real buggers hide behind the smokescreen and your hard earned money is being palmed off easily.
My mail in response to Sunil Jain’s write up in Business Standard was published recently (in fact quite a lot of them though). I had clearly mentioned that BSNL does not lack the expertise to roll out the networks but rather it has been ham handed by TRAI and the network expansion plans locked up in court battles which stunts it’s growth. This means that a poor coverage of the private players in rural areas continues as it is because these bastards won’t let the others grow. This also means that behind the glitzy advertisements, your over dependence on these players is being taken for granted and for a ride.
TRAI needs to be dismantled or radically overhauled. It’s time that companies like BSNL speak out against them.
I am putting up the published email in it’s entirety.
The real reason for the loss of market share is the ham handed policies
and has nothing to do with lack of an opportunity. For over many years,
BSNL’s expansion for over 40 million lines for GSM has been held up in
court cases or stuck because of the objections of various ministries. This
speaks volumes about the operational efficiency of the PSU’s.
Mr Jain’s write up clearly points the anomaly. The entry of private
telecom players is welcome because they have worked hard to improve the
teledensity. However, this has definitely come at a cost to Indian
industry. None of the telecom equipment is manufactured in India and we
are dependent on the big majors from the Western world. Broadband as a
metric for the GDP languishes. Mobile connectivity based on voice alone
would not contribute to their kitty based on low ARPU’s; most of the
mobile operators have shied away from creating custom applications for
shoring up the value added services. Finally, having a private operator
does not mean that services are automatically ensured. There are a large
number of forums where people recount their horrible experiences with the
telecom operators; no one seems to be wiser than the other.
All of this to be kept in mind before they can get a clean chit. The real
public sector needs to be shored up, given operational freedom to choose
with the best practises and ideally no interference from any quarter. This
would be a fair enough ground to test for the acquisition of customers.
Further, the PSU needs to shed their complacency in case they need to
survive instead of relying alone on the taxpayers money.