Martin Luthe King Jr once said, “To other countries, I may go as a tourist, but to India, I come as a pilgrim.”
India is home to some of the biggest pilgrimage and holy occasions, one of which is Kumbh Mela. Thousands of Indians gather to this place every year and this year wont be any different. The 2019 Allahabad Kumbh Mela is scheduled to start on January 15 for two months.
India’s biggest telecom companies, like Reliance Jio, Vodafone-Idea, and Bharti Airtel are apparently viewing the Kumbh Mela as a marketing opportunity and flocked to the pilgrimage site to lure potential customers under the pretext of ‘offering special services’.
On the positive side, the offered services are helpful for the devotees too.
Telecom Giants’ Special Services
The special services by the telecom companies include radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to help people locate themselves in case they get lost in the huge crowd, apps that offer real-time travel information, emergency helplines, and area routes, live streaming of all the proceedings at Kumbh, religious discourses, virtual tours of pilgrim sites and devotional songs.
This is all a strategically planned marketing tactic to reach remote towns and villages as well. With the extremely strong competition between these giants, that has emerged due to the reduced tariff, this tactic might help the companies gain more ‘devotees’.
The newly emerged company, which has shaken the ground beneath Vodafone-Idea and Airtel, has some innovative services to offer via their newest 4G feature phones. They will provide information about the event, status and availability of transport like buses and trains (including details about the Railway Camp Mela), emergency helplines, and routes. Apart from this, they will also stream devotional content on the Jio TV and radio apps, news alerts and locators for families.
The country’s second largest telecom company has tied up with VR Devotee, a Bangalore based startup that will stream the ceremonies through its virtual reality platform. There will also be special kiosks that will display real-life proceedings to the visitors and virtual reality-based immersive experience. Viewers will be able to watch all the important rituals from anywhere. Airtel has also created a special channel, Kumbh channel, on its Airtel TV app that will connect devotees with the event.
Vodafone – Idea
Vodafone – Idea has come up with the Vodafone RFID tag for children under 14 years of age and senior citizens that will help people trace relatives or friends to find their way back.
With an estimated arrival of almost 130 million people to the Kumbh Mela, this is a great opportunity for telecom companies to test out the working capacity and reliability of their new products.