Its been a busy week in Indian telecommunications and my frustration with the government grows. After the Indian general elections in May, the press had a love fest with the new government saying everything would change and the economy would be back on track. And one of the first things to get fast tracked would be the 3G auction. News trickled in this week that the much awaited 3G auction for high speed mobile data services would be delayed yet again.
For me the 3G auction should be one of the easiest policies to implement and to show the Congress Government has indeed arrived and changing the way business is done. There are no slums to move nor environmental impact surveys to conduct. The government is acting like most stock markets investors, they want to see those previous all-time highs and then auction off the spectrum. In the meantime, companies are losing revenue and the government is losing out on taxes. It all comes down to money, who gets what and how much – hence the title of the post.
All is not lost for the consumer, this week the government said they wanted to look at implementing per second billing for all carriers as opposed to the current per minute billing. This all came about when Tata DOCOMO launched their service with per second billing. I have a feeling it will happen because Reliance Mobile launched their “Simply Reliance” plan which offers 50 paise (USD 1 penny) per minute for local, long distance and SMS’s. Since Reliance is pretty well connected to the government, they probably have better insight to what policies will get implemented and threw down the pricing gauntlet. The “Simply Reliance” plans reminds me of the AT&T Digital One Rate launched in 1998, that really was the game changer for the US mobile market by eliminating “roaming” charges.