As part of my Interop keynote, I discussed five disruptions that we are going to see going ahead in the mobile industry in India. A single slide doesn’t necessarily do justice, so I thought I would elaborate on each of the five themes: MNP, MVNO, 3G, Voice Competition and VAS Competition.
Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
MNP is likely to be rolled out sometime in the next few months. It will allow people to switch operators and retain their mobile number.
Today, one of the mental blocks many people have against switching to new operators is that they would need to get a new mobile number, and then would come the perceived pain of notifying everyone in their address book of the new number. So, they stay put.
Now, that status quo is about to change. Will people switch? I think there will be some switching which will happen from Vodafone and Airtel to some of the other operators. Initially, operators will primarily try and compete on voice plans. The real opportunity, though, is to attract high ARPU customers with compelling data services — and I don’t see that happening yet. Operators still don’t have the mindset to think about anything other than voice!