Sunday, May 23, 2010

India Telecom situation is gonna get murky

Now might be about the worst time to be an executive at any of the Indian Telecommunication companies. You wouldn't know what to watch out for. On one hand the 3G results showed up and no one has a Pan India license, so if you're an avid traveler then you might have to keep a couple of sims in handy unless we see some tie ups coming. Then there's the MNP situation which is turning out to be quite a costly affair. The inaugural date of the service has seen multiple delays due to equipment shortage and difficulty to get them in as well as National Security problems being cited by the IT minister.
Circle wise winners of 3G spectrum:
  • Delhi - Vodafone, Airtel, Reliance
  • Mumbai - Reliance, Vodafone, Airtel
  • Kolkata - Vodafone, Aircel, Reliance
  • Andhra Pradesh - Airtel, Idea, Aircel
  • Assam - Reliance, Airtel, Aircel
  • Bihar - STel, Airtel, Reliance, Aircel
  • Gujarat - Tata, Vodafone, Idea
  • Haryana - Idea, Tata, Vodafone
  • Himachal Pradesh - Airtel, STel, Idea, Reliance
  • Jammu & Kashmir - Idea, Aircel, Reliance, Airtel
  • Karnataka - Tata, Aircel, Airtel
  • Kerala - Idea, Tata, Aircel
  • Madhya Pradesh - Idea, Reliance, Tata
  • Maharashtra - Tata, Idea, Vodafone
  • North East - Aircel, Airtel, Reliance
  • Orissa - STel, Aircel, Reliance
  • Punjab - Idea, Reliance, Tata, Aircel
  • Rajasthan - Reliance, Airtel, Tata
  • Tamil Nadu - Airtel, Vodafone, Aircel
  • Uttar Pradesh (E) - Aircel, Idea, Vodafone
  • Uttar Pradesh (W) - Airtel, Idea, Tata
  • West Bengal - Airtel, Reliance, Vodafone, Aircel
 list courtesy TechCauldron

As of now, most of the Indian telecom companies are swimming around in pools of debt and they're probably going to be staying that way thanks to policies made by IT minister A.Raja (his policies give Indians the lowest call rates in the world!). With May 31st being the last date for paying up the 3G fees, the companies better start working for more funds. Even if they do meet the licence fee deadline, actually setting up 3G in India is not going to be a cheap affair. The race to be the first private player to set up 3G is going to be fun to watch.

Mobile Number Portability has been promised to show up by July. One the service becomes active, competition among telecom companies is going to get pretty intense. The major initiative to enable MNP is to allow subscribers to move across service providers while retaining their number. Once the service is active, a new era of competition would arise with operators poaching hi-profile clients from rival companies. I bet it's gonna be entertaining =)

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