India Telecom Wars Roundup

I have not been writing about the ongoing telecom wars because I was kind of waiting to see how actions-reactions play out and what track all the new and existing players take….

Today, this article is prompted by something that I saw while I was driving back home. Inoticed a large hoardng that announced “MTS launches 0.5p/sec for entire Karnataka on all networks” and I almost let out a whistle..wow, that is cheap and it takes the telecom wars to a new circle. Is this a desperate attempt of a new entrant with a large wherewithal in the global market, willing to rough it out for the sake of long term.

Tata Docomo focusses on “full value recharge” and Tata Indicom showcases its “digital clarity” in prime time advertisements, but both skirt the main issue in the air – lack of good network reach!

Airtel, in the meanwhile, launched its one second pulse and matched the competitors, after waiting for two months and losing its #1 status on per month new user additions. Vodafone, Idea and Reliance followed suit. I have to say this though, Reliance needs to stop blatant copying of ads and get creative. Their per second ads look exactly like Docomo’s minus the jazz. Tata Docomo as well as Tata Indicom, I must say, hats off to the creative team at Ulka and Lodestar Universal. But the networks need to execute on the hype – FAST. (Aside: Tata Docomo’s  friendship train ad by Ulka has no relevance. The tune is catchy and the picturization is good, but I fail to get the point…and I love the “digital clarity” ad campaign by Tata Indicom showcasing how the advanced network clarity conveys not only voice but the emotions behind it also…great work Lodestar)

BSNL was surprisingly proactive, launching the per second pulse offer just following the Tata Docomo splash! Not sure, how many takers it got. Somehow, their branding effort with insipid advertising and mishandling of the “first mover advantage of the 3G” has made them the laughing stock of the town, so not sure how many people jump at their offers anymore!

Well, to begin with, I need to admire the power of free markets. Without regulation the entire ecosystem has jumped on a bandwagon rolled by one player, that can be “visibly” beneficial to the customer. What’s next, then? Call for free and we will play ads every 30 secs while you speak? Any takers?

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