Selling 3G In India

Many of us are aware that Indian Service Providers had bid astronomical amounts to obtain 3G spectrum. However, the revenues from 3G services seem not commensurate to this. In fact, some people have started stating that 3G services in India have failed.

I feel that the operators are not trying enough to monetize their investment, although common sense would state that it is unlikely. Let me explain why…

Although it would look rhetorical, I would say that I had expected the following failures to have happened by now in this country before the the conclusion may be drawn that 3G is not suitable for Indian consumer.

Taxi NOCs

Before 3G is declared a failure, I would have expected a service like a Network Operation Centre for Taxis to have come up.

Backed by a great price plan, mobile telematics & M2M units installed in Taxis and with self-care portals for booking taxis, a private company running taxis in multiple cities can manage their fleet with an operation centre that tracks every vehicle on a map in real-time and uses analytics to predict accurate arrival and departure times.

The fact that this has not happened, I take as a proof that the operators have not tried hard to monetize 3G services.

Exchange For Farm Goods

Before 3G is declared as failure, I would have expected an Exchange for farm goods to have come up.

As this blog is being posted, there is an ongoing protest by Sugarcane Growers against Sugar Mill owners in the part of the country that I live in. The growers are of the opinion that they don’t get a good price from the mills and that as individuals they are powerless to negotiate.

Imagine an online exchange where these sales can happen and a low-cost tablet available with the growers, with apps through which they can actually bid to sell and adjust prices in real-time. The exchange should be connected to a network of transporters, with their own devices and apps – thus removing the geographic constraints for delivery too.

The fact that this has not happened, I take as a proof that the operators have not tried hard to monetize 3G services.

Transport Efficiency

That brings me to another idea that should have failed before declaring that 3G has failed in India.

When you look at International Petrol prices, you observe that petrol prices fluctuate a lot with time. And yet, if you look at the sourcing and distribution of petroleum, the price at which it can be sold is controlled by the Government at a stable (subsidised) point. I read somewhere that there are billions of dollars made or lost due to price variations while petroleum is in transit – from oil wells / import sources, to refinery, to warehouses and to the petrol pumps!

Again with M2M and Telematics, the oil companies can be made to operate effectively using a 3G network that enables tracking of the stock in transit. This would be a great help to the nation – given that our Government is subsidizing petrol.

The fact that this has not happened, I take as a proof that the operators have not tried hard to monetize 3G services.

In Conclusion

The abovementioned examples are just a small part where a seriously minded Service Provider can create an ecosystem to be brought up. All it would take is an investment of time, effort and some money to develop concepts around 3G networks that can make the network popular.

Are the operators willing to do this? Or, is it that when they opted for the Managed Services model and, even if they want to innovate, they dont have the talent anymore with them?


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