It is obvious these heavy investments have been made to reap a rich harvest. Reliance Jio is clear. It wants to be a game changer; and it wants to be No. 1. Besides the technology and super offering of services, the strategy is to get there by a hugely disruptive pricing strategy. The first step will be to enter two-SIM handsets of existing subscribers. The scare going around among rival operators is that Jio will launch data packs at throwaway prices as an entry strategy. As it has to woo away existing subscribers it may go as low as Rs 10 for a 100 MB or even Rs 1 for a 1GB pack. Such low rates would shake up the market. Data revenue is the fastest growing piece in the overall revenue segment, and a digital generation that is wallet sensitive as well as data conscious will love this pricing. Young subscribers, who watch movies and spend time on social media uploading and downloading stuff, will be the first movers for any service that offers cheap data. Packaging of data with handsets, wi-fi and access to a set-top box will also be a game changer for the sheer spectrum of digital services being provided. The writing is clear on the wall: Jio has applied for a nation-wide multi-system operator
(MS) licence to provide cable services. Most of the cable and DTH services cannot provide proper broadband connectivity, except Bharti Airtel.
High stakes are involved and competitive telecom operators view the coming 4G wave with fear and caution. Data delivery on 3G is just taking off. Its potential has nowhere near been realised, so those who have opted for it cannot debunk it. Over the past few years, capital investment has drained these players both for the acquisition of new spectrum as well as for converting to 3G. Investment in network infrastructure has not kept pace with growth in subscribers. In a hyper-competitive market, operators are spending big on customer retention. These costs are draining their balance sheets. Analysts are revising profit estimates downward due to the coming price war on data and higher payments for spectrum. In such an environment, will the quality of telecom service improve or deteriorate?
Call Drops Spur 4G
A report by industry regulator Telecom Regulatoiy Authority of India (Trai) shows quality of service deteriorat-