Are You Waiting For Mobile Number Portability(MNP)?

13 08 2009

OK! Let’s start with this simple question before I write on statistics. Suppose, you could retain your mobile number, even though you change your mobile service provider, then? Will you go for it? Now, don’t ask me what‘s the cost involved? Yes! We are talking about Mobile Number Portability (MNP), which is soon to be launched in India.

According to Nielsen Wire, close to one in five (18%) of the Indian mobile subscribers said that they will change their operator, if they have ability to retain their mobile number.  But then, who will be bearing the anguish of customers more? Who will suffer less? Whose subscriber base will remain unaffected overall, if any? All these questions are surveyed and reported by Nielsen, in its latest report on MNP in India. Let’s sum up the main points:

  •  A quarter of customers of Reliance and Tata Indicom said that they would change their number, if MNP becomes reality.
  • Only 19% of subscribers would be happy to leave BSNL, which is contrary to network perception of BSNL.
  • High spenders, postpaid subscribers and business subscribers indicated a higher tendency to change carriers versus prepaid and low to medium spenders.

According to report, 39% of those surveyed said that they selected their mobile operator based on price, while 36% chose network based on perceived network quality. Customer service, promotion and reputation also driven the choices for subscribers.

The Nielsen surveyed 12,500 Indian mobile subscribers across 50 metropolitan areas





New Additions to Telecomblogs!

11 08 2009

It’s our constant effort to keep you updated about Telecom Technology, Green Environment and Social media in general. Though till date Telecomblogs has tried to explore Telecom technology and related issues, we would like to write about Green Technology in Telecom, which is widely known but least explored aspect of Telecom in India- in coming months.

We have added few informative links for reader’s knowledge; the special mention are “IEEE Carbon Footprint Calculator” & “NYT Environment Special Portal”. Along with these links you can read on “Walt Mossberg Blogs at WSJ”, which is my personal favorite. 

Also, if you are interested in knowing about Telecom Tariff Market in India, for all major Telecom operators across all circles of operations, please refer to flash widget. You can download the entire Tariff Market Details, which includes newly launched Voice & Data Plans in month of July-09 across India , for free. Enjoy reading! (Courtesy: Telecomwatch, India)  

Thank you.





Is Telecom Market Returning to Normal?

10 08 2009

Second quarter results are now in from most of the leading telecom service providers & technology providers, reports Telegeography. Though results aren’t very impressive; they aren’t bad either.

Let’s sum up main highlights of report:

  • The top ten telecoms equipment vendors saw revenues climb 4% compared to Q1, reaching USD63 billion. The growth is impressive as compared to Q1, though quarterly revenue is still 6% down from a year ago.
  • The top 15 service providers saw their aggregate Q2 revenue climb up by a fraction of one percent relative to Q1, reaching US$231billion.
  • On service provider side, all three Japanese companies dropped a place due to exchange rate movements, which allowed Verizon to take No.2 spot, while AT&T leading the chart.
  • Among equipment vendors, LG has shown strong growth and moved upto number eight in ranking. It has swapped the place with Japan’s NEC which is now ranked 10th.

 

The most interesting part of the story is that, except Vodafone & China Mobile, no other service provider operates in emerging markets such as India & China. Still, 80% of revenue is coming from developed nations for majority of service provider operating in domestic developed markets. Perhaps, we would get to see Bharti-MTN in the league (if deal goes through) soon, but till then we would continue to see same names in the list. One reason, cited could be the rise of data & broadband, which accounts as much as 40% of the total revenue for some of the service providers (NTT). Until the widespread adaptation of NGN & Mobile Broadband by India & China, we would less likely to see any changes soon, except the rise of China Mobile in tally.





The Truth of Broadband Speed!

9 08 2009

When was the last time you bought a commodity, called Broadband Speed from leading service provider and after few days of usage realized that the product itself is a big crap. The hype surrounding the speed of 3.1Mbps, as promised in the advertisement of the product, is utterly a fake claim and now what you could get maximum of few hundred kbps only. If this isn’t not enough, when you complained about it to service provider, you got a prompt professional reply, “We just don’t guarantee the advertised speed”. If you are among those people who are turned down by all these events, there’s good news for you, “You aren’t alone!”

 

Of course, every claim can be refuted when technology in hand can do it easily for you, but the question here isn’t about fake claims or not even speed, it’s simple. If you are paying for 3.1 Mbps, why you shouldn’t get it? Why am I allowed to compromise on speed, when every month I spend more than 700Rs for it? This debate is sparked by my friend, who recently bought Reliance’s Broadband+ card and despite many attempts his card failed to show even 2Mbps speed. So after number of complaints, he decided to uncover the story of speed behind the claims, himself. So he started taking snapshots of speed he was getting while using card, which he then sent to Reliance CC (Customer Care). At the end, Reliance agreed upon the speed lapse, but then he didn’t stop there, he wants every claim of the company should be fulfilled for every user, if users are paying for it. What’s wrong in it?

Nothing actually! Many believe that broadband service providers selling, say, 3.1Mbps service should be required to set aside the same amount of capacity in order to fulfill, IMPLICIT service level agreement (SLA). In short, if you are paying for 3.1Mbps, it should be there when you need it. But reality is different- networks are always oversubscribed in the sense that service providers will always sell more capacity than available.

Is it a rational thing to do? Perhaps yes! It is widely known fact that broadband service provider sell few thousand percent more capacity than they have. It just reflects the typical usage pattern of broadband networks. But then when high prices are coming into picture should I really bother about it?

I remember few things during the discussion with my friend. Whenever he used complain about low speed to service providers, just after that, his device showed speed up to 2Mbps+ for short time. But then it was only for short time. “How’s that possible?” He asked me. It’s difficult to answer it, but then he was quite sure that if he could get speed of 2Mbps+ for short time, it’s fairly possible to get 3.1Mbps all the time. It’s tough to answer those sporadic high speed peaks , but even for me, the question compelled me to go back in time to find answer. What’s really holding service providers from giving speed of 3.1Mbps? Are they really capable of it? If yes, then why can’t they fulfill the promise?

It was in 2006, at Tata Institute, we had got 4Mbps leased line which was fairly good enough at that time. I don’t remember the amount our institute used to pay for it, but during night time, I often saw speed peaking up to 2Mbps myself. Then what it has to do with current scenario? I know now, what might have made leased line provider to go up to 2Mbps with given capacity of 4Mbps! Its money, institute was paying for leased line, which ensured that you were given the allocated dedicated bandwidth all the time. It was mutual implicit agreement between institute & service provider. But then how are you going to ensure the same for end users who are buying you products (Not leased lines) at comparatively lower price tag?

Let’s do some calculations! On an Avg you end up paying 700Rs for 3.1Mbps (let’s assume this is avg cost of broadband in India) per month. This amounts to just 0.0035Rs per bit per month for users, which is fairly cheap. There are many GPRS/EDGE based products which guarantee speeds of few kbps in downlink with very good pricing options. But then, when my institute paid a hefty amount for leased line, it wasn’t only for infra, it was to ensure the dedicated capacity for users, which also ensured that uses will always get speeds of 2Mbps minimum all the time.

So what’s the conclusion? It’s fairly possible for broadband service providers to ensure the advertised speed of 3.1Mbps for users, provided users are willing to shell out some extra money for that dedicated capacity. And perhaps, when you end up paying more than 700Rs per month, you just don’t justify it. You may smartly say that, leased line forms a separate business case than a mere end user. It’s true! But then that’s not the difference when you have to ensure speeds, only difference I could sight, one has paid more amount for dedicated capacity bandwidth, other hasn’t  pay that much amount. The reason broadband service providers oversubscribe their networks and don’t make minimum speed guarantees is that “they must deliver high speed services at fairly cheap prices”. And you know now! It’s not about speed promised- it’s about money you shell out for bandwidth! Rest is assured! So in the end always remember that, whenever you buy broadband cards from any service provider in the market, make sure that you ask him minimum speed guaranteed by device. No one will guarantee the advertised speed for you, as an end user. But then be prepared to shell out some cash if you really want that much of speed. As I told to my friend, it’s not the speed you are paying for- it’s dedicated capacity you are paying for.

(Source: This article was originally written for SiliconIndia)





Global 3G Users Forecast!

8 08 2009

There is lots of optimism in the latest report released by Telegeography, a telecom market research firm, about number of users actually using 3G services across globe. Apart from growth story of Asia-Pacific region, it highlights the fact that Asia-Pacific region will dominate the telecom market in coming years.

 

Let’s make a short-list of few points in the report:

  • Japan is having highest number of 3G users in the world. After launch of first commercial 3G network in late 2001 by NTT DoCoMo, Japan has 92million UMTS users at the end of Mar-2009.
  • Japan has 50% more 3G subscribers than US and three times as many as South Korea.
  • US will overtake Japan for 3G subscriber base by 2011. In Japan 3G users accounts for nearly 85% of total wireless subscriber base and market is nearing saturation. 
  • At the point of 2011 when US market will be growing strongly in terms of 3G subscriber additions, they could maintain lead for next three years only, when China will overtake US to occupy top spot.
  • Around the same time, India will surpass Japan and will occupy third spot.

But then, in India where 3G spectrum auction is still in pipeline, do you see India surpassing 92million (current Japan 3G subscriber number) 3G subscriber mark by 2013-14? It simply means that every year Indian MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) have to add 20million 3G subscribers on an average. With lack of 3G guidelines and number of available 3G slots in each circle (this number varies), it’s really hard to add 20 million in first 2-3 years, or at least I don’t see any good reason to believe such reports as of now. Rest is known from BSNL/MTNL’s 3G launch story!





WiMAX market in India- A report!

2 08 2009

So finally we could list India among the few potential markets in world for WiMAX deployments. A recent research conducted by Infonetics Research, concluded that US, Central & Eastern Europe, Russia, Middle East, China & India have strong potential for WiMAX-partially because they have huge populations, or their demands for broadband aren’t being met by existing technologies.

Some report highlights are:

  • India is the largest single-country WiMAX opportunity in the world, with most of the major operators actively pursuing WiMAX (BSNL, Tata, Bharti Airtel, etc); deployments are well-underway with acceleration in adoption experienced in many telecoms circles
  • In India, Telsima—now Harris-Stratex—led the WiMAX equipment market in 2008, followed by Alcatel-Lucent and WiMAX specialist Aperto
  • Brazil is potentially one of the world’s most dynamic WiMAX markets, with a very mobile-oriented populace; WiMAX has an opportunity to become the primary broadband network in Brazil, where the number of WiMAX subscribers is forecast to skyrocket from 184,000 in 2008 to almost 8 million in 2013
  • Russia is the ‘perfect storm’ for WiMAX: challenging geography, dispersed population, pent up demand for broadband and voice services, and a population able to pay for services; there are currently more than 10 WiMAX networks in operation or deployment in Russia
  • Though the current market is very modest, if China‘s 3G technology TD-SCDMA fails to ignite the market, a softening of the regulatory attitude to WiMAX could follow, leading to much more extensive WiMAX market growth

 ms09_wmc_chart

Report also adds that “India, because of its scale, and the U.S., because of Clearwire’s profile, are the two most prominent markets for WiMAX, and both are absolutely critical to its fortunes Adoption levels and network performance in India and the US will dictate how WiMAX is perceived in a global context, and thus how prominent a position 802.16e takes in the overall wireless landscape in the next decade”

Perhaps, Indian operators would opt for WiMAX, a real mobile broadband technology, in coming months. If all goes well, we could see parallel 3G & WiMAX Base Stations deployments across country. But let’s be aware of limitations of both approaches- each might form separate business cases, providing solutions catering to entirely different population segments.