The Indian telecom industry has seen monumental growth this year. The scale and speed has been like never before. From getting more customers, increasing their revenues, addition of newer players, moving on to 3G – there has been a lot of interesting stuff happening on that front.
Can you imagine, the total subscriber additions in 2010 are expected to be about 200 million. Most of the countries across the world don’t even have total subscriber base equivalent to that number.
But then obviously if a lot of nice stuff has been happening around, then a lot of infamous stuff needs to happen as well, right? So A. Raja and the 2G scam issue were there to make sure that one didn’t miss out on that too much.
Top 10 Telecom events in 2010
Airtel takes the step to become the Raja in Africa as well
Airtel acquired the operations of Zain which has spread its wings in 15 countries in Africa for US $ 10.7 billion in a step to become one of the leaders in Africa as well. Now that’s what you call becoming truly international, as Airtel has become the third largest mobile operator by subscriber base in the world
2G scam and A Raja
Obviously how can we forget this scam? The scam that filled our papers, conversations, tweets, Facebook updates, Faking news updates everything throughout the year. Giving licenses to new mobile operators like S–Tel, Videocon, Uninor and many such kinds at throwaway prices was always going to put you into trouble sooner rather than later. And Raja found out that this turned out to be the biggest disaster of the year.
But interesting was as to how Raja took Barkha Dutt and many other journalists along with him to the side of disaster with the release of the controversial tapes
Smartphones ki bahaar!
It was the year of smartphones in the country with Samsung, Dell, Nokia, Apple, Motorola everyone launching smartphones as if there is no tomorrow. And all this after the penetration of smartphones in the country is less than 5%. But then India is THE market which is expected to grow crazily over the next couple of years. So why not be prepared before itself?
Indian mobile companies come off age
Micromax, Karbonn, Spice Telecom may have been unheard of names last year or so. But this year these companies have gone on too gain a combined market share of more than 10-12% giving Nokia’s and Motorola’s of the world a run for their money. Nokia’s market share has dropped by about 10-15% this year on account of a poor smartphone.
Micromax has launched smartphones with mosquito repellents starting at Rs 3,000. Now that’s what you call innovation, right?
Number of mobile customers cross 700 million
By September 2010, the number of mobile customers in the country had reached 723 million with a teledensity of around 61%. Now that’s pretty good right?
“Khaana ke liye khaana nahi ho ga, but mobile phone zaroor ho ga”
Mobile Number Portability
The much anticipated MNP scheme was finally launched in November this year. It allows a person to have the same contact number across networks. The process involves paying Rs 19 to the new services provider. But then this service has faced a lot of flak in many countries where it has been introduced due to many issues. Only time will tell as to what will happen in India though
The 3G spectrum allocation by the government generated about Rs 70,000 cr in cash for the government. Now that’s a lot of money paid for services which are still in the nascent stage of development in the country and which will take a lot of time before they become common as smartphone penetration is still low.
But then you never know? Airtel, Reliance and BSNL have already launched these services in few circles and by March 2011 it would launched by all the service providers who have been allocated the spectrum
Airtel’s rebranding story
Airtel went for a massive Rs 300cr spend on changing its logo and rebranding itself completely in terms of the symbol, colour, signature tune everything. But sadly it turned out that Rs 300cr went to JWT just for creating a logo which resembled nothing but a poor copy of Videocon’s logo and a tune which was a sad attempt at “internationalizing” the Airtel brand
Entry of many new players
Unitech, S – Tel, Etisalat, Uninor are among the many players that have entered the telecom industry this year. But the 2G scam as well as their strategy of starting services without any good infrastructure has proved to be a deterrent for them resulting in massive losses
Protection from telemarketers
TRAI had introduced the Do Not call Registry for protection from these telemarketers. But sadly it became just that, a registry of numbers. TRAI has now come up with a penalty of fine and imprisonment depending on the number of times these calls happen. But will it really succeed? Who will monitor the number of calls? Who will be responsible for punishments? A lot of questions remain unanswered
So, there you have it the most notable events of 2010 in Telecom Industry. Do you think I missed out any ?
Interesting times ahead for sure!