Use of Mobile tv, games leads 3G to a tremendous growth

On the eve of the long expected 3G auctions, telecom experts advised
prospective operators to search for the high-end customers in their
existing subscriber base and prepare to them to shift to high speed
download that the third generation spectrum would facilitate. The
expert’s view at a 3G India Mobile Operators Executive Summit was that
the new service would enable cheaper download of several applications
like mobile TV, video clips of films and sports like cricket, education
network gaming and entertainment; for hi-end users ,voice would be
cheaper on 3G. Even rural audience would have a margin of users for
these services, the experts emphasised.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) member R. N. Prabhakar
advised the operators to use existing 2G networks to transmit 3G
service also, to reduce costs enabling them with right software. HSPA
enabled networks would be able to handle 3G transmission. He assured
mobile customers that the regulator would keep a watch on the quality
of service of 2G operation even as networks move on to provide 3G

Mr. Avner Amran, chief operating officer of leading 3G network provider
TTI Telecom, a worldwide company with comprehensive 3G network operator
service solutions experience in several continents likened the
explosive growth of telecom in India as “more a kind of revolution than
evolution, any operator going into 3G needs to prepare for the
switching by advance preparation of the potential customer and lining
up adequate applications”, he told a select audience at the summit
organised by Bharat Exhibitions. “3G about to become a reality from a
dream”. Bharat Exhibitions MD Mr. Shashi Dharan said emphasising the
context of the event. The 3G auctions are expected to conclude by

The two public sector operators, BSNL and MTNL who have been providing
3G services for some months now, enlightened the operators assembled
with their own experience in the much hyped 3G domain. MTNL chief
general manager wireless services, A. K. Bhargava pointed out how the
problem was not in technology but in ancillary services like billing
and customer management. “The customer does not care whether it is 3G
or 2G; we have to educate him on what benefits to expect from 3G.” MTNL
had few customers to begin with but once the benefits were explained
“we had one lakh customers in just a month”. The higher tariff at the
beginning restricted usage but “when tariff came down, customer base
multiplied”, he added. His view was that “it was too early to talk of
3G services becoming popular with bottom of the pyramid customers.” But
for the service to be profitable, the customer search should include
middle level users as well as hi-end ones. The potential customers
could be preselected from the existing subscriber base and told about
what 3G could mean to each one of them.

The MTNL executive suggested that operators must project 3G as a
tool for enhancing efficiency, productivity and as promoting a changed
life style and not as a mere upgrade on 2G.
According to the BSNL principal general manager for value added
services, Mr. S. S. Sirohi, 3G would be most popular with those who
need to use internet while on the move. “Download is quick with 3G
bandwidth” he pointed out taking a leaf out of his company’s offer of
3G services in the last few months. Live TV would be most popular and
also network games with 3G availability. Mr. Sirohi advised the
prospective operators to offer a bouquet of services on 3G different
from the ones they were so far offering on the 2G networks.
“Opportunity for network games is enormous on 3G networks. This bouquet
of services would drive the quest for rising average revenue per user”.
Among other services that 3G would make popular, would be family
services like multi-media. Operators should configure services before
they begin to offer the higher bandwidth. Educate the customer to
discover that for many of the hi-end services, 3G base would be much
cheaper for him.
The experts also wanted the cost of handsets that can enable use of 3G,
to be cheaper than what they are today. “A handset costing Rs 5,000 may
not be cheap by our standards” Mr. Bhargava pointed out. “It should
come down to Rs.3000 or even less.”

TTI Telecom GM for Asia, Mr. Tommy Quitt cautioned the operators that
because of the richness of services on 3G, they should watch the
functioning of the network carefully. The problems that customers would
face could also be outside the network like application providers. As
far as the customers are concerned they would always go for the network
service provider when they confront the problems.


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