Tuesday 18 August 2009

Indian subscribers getting taste of Mobile Broadband

Lots of interesting developments are happening in India at the moment. The first and the most basic being MNP or Mobile Number Portability finally becoming a reality. For the first time users will be able to move operators and retain their number. This will change the way the users will use their phones. For example most users use their mobiles as secondary phones for making calls while they give their landline numbers to important people. The reason being they are not sure how long they will stick with the current operator. If they change the operator they will get a new number. I think that this will definitely change with MNP.

MNP is not the only thing. Many operators and equipment manufacturers are waiting for the 3G spectrum auction for some time now. The auction was recently postponed for variety of reasons. The auction will let the private operators to bid for the spectrum and they can decide if they want 3G or WiMAX or LTE. The state run MTNL and BSNL have already launched 3G and in Northern India but there have been not many takers yet. Maybe the people are but sceptical right now or maybe the lack of devices. The other thing is that people are maybe not sure if the technology they invest in will be around tomorrow or not.

MTNL is keen to experiment with WiMAX but it does not want to do it alone. There are many companies in India that have developed WiMAX protocol stacks so it may be a boost for these generally small and medium sized companies if WiMAX is deployed by MTNL. The only problem with WiMAX is that there are hardly big global names with any WiMAX devices/equipment. As a reult the prices could be higher and the consumers may have less choice. 3G and LTE will help in this scenario. Qualcomm for example is already looking forward to getting a big chunck of the Indian market.

India has a very big pool of keen technologists and they will whole heartidly embrace mobile broadband and the variety of apps/mobiles but only when they know that there will be stability and reliability. Once the ball starts rolling then the snowball will turn into an avalanche. The question is not if, but when.


Sripada Kamesh said...

Even the state owned operators BSNL and MTNL were given 3G spectrum "in advance", they really failed to gain any thing from that.

The subscriber base of MTNL is 903....shame on MTNL. It completely failed to capture the market.
Main point of their failure is bad marketing. Even 3G JADOO failed to attract customers.

Let us see if 3G spectrum is given for the private operators, how far MTNL and BSNL can survive in that heavy competition.

Zahid Ghadialy said...

To be honest, when 3G was first launched in UK the takeup was just slightly better.

MTNL needs to spend a bit on agressive marketing and consumer education but because its state owned, I suppose it wouldnt bother.

Zia said...

I believe most of the potential users of 3G (smart phone users) in India are tied up with likes of Vodafone and Airtel only if people are made aware of number portability they might be willing to shift to MTNL/BSNL.