Missed Opportunities in Telecom

There doesn’t seem to any sign of the 3G auction taking place in the near future. That is a big disappointment, but not entirely unexpected. This is what I had written in early Jan:

My feeling on what will happen is that the 3G auction will probably not happen in Jan. And if its gets delayed further, we start moving into pre-election territory when the code of conduct will start coming into effect, and it could end up being delay to the end of the year after the new government takes over in May-June. I don’t think theincumbent operators will be too unhappy with this — no one is really clamouring for 3G.

It is inded very frustrating to see this happen. I had thought 3G was a year away three years away. We still seem to be in the same situation. Not only are we in India losing the opportunity to experience a new generation of services on the mobile, but Indian companies and entrepreneurs are losing the opportunity to use the domestic market to build mobile data capabilities which could then be leveraged globally. In other words, India could have become a global leader in mobile data services — mobile social networking, location-based services, data MVNOs, mobile broadband infrastructure, etc. But that becomes harder without a domestic market to first launch and test the services. And given that the domestic Internet market isn’t growing fast enough, digital-focused companies will have a tough time building out scale.

We need to understand that telecom infrastructure (wireline and wireless) can be very useful given that we have been a laggard for as long as we know. Just adding 10+ million voice connections is not good enough. The game needs to shift to data services. And there, we haven’t even gotten started yet.Hopefully, the next government will take steps in this direction, but given our past record, that is probably being way too optimistic.

4 thoughts on “Missed Opportunities in Telecom

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  2. I can understand your frustration. Our intellects always follow the world (read the US),

    What I also do not get is when everyone is capable of making money from a free model – why not Indian companies.

    Like the other day I was talking to one huge company on making their subscription free and make money from some other routes.

    Scenario: Like Party – A calls Party – B.

    Value: The entire call is FREE. Subscription is REE. Only thing the subscriber has to do is buy an carrying equipment (there is another plan to make them free as well)

    How the SPs will make money: When you are calling someone – put an advertisement, an info commercial of short duration during the call and let the customer know about.

    I can bet that in India or anywhere someone will not just cut down on a phone when they are talking to someone. At first it may look rritating (but then was not the ad on TV during the fighting sequence between Amitabh Bachhan with Amzad Khan) was irritating – as we are all glued to see the nail biting finish.

    People will not cut off for a 5 or 10 seconds info commercial (who will pay the SPs) when they are talking.

    When will you cut off – when you are in a serious business talk. There also you can make money. Put at the beginning and end. There are some other smarter routes as well and they can very well make money.

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