Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Thoda hai... Thode ki Zaroorat Hai...!

With the telecom players drawing a trump every time they come up with a new service, you expect that they have just about exhausted all options available to mankind! However, surely the game is turning out to become a price war! Well, as much as it benefits the end consumer, it is simply not a way the industry gives the best to offer. So, as long as the price war is on, it is simply inevitable that the revenue stream keeps flowing through some channel; given the ever falling ARPU in the Indian market at least.

In this very vein, just a few words of suggestion to the mobile network operators and the now-booming Value Added Services (VAS) industry. There are some very simplistic services which arise out of a daily need to attend calls; not of the natural kind, of course; given that the cellular thingy has now become indisposable... So, here goes...

More Ad space....
Ha! Ads, ads and more ads. Even football player's jersey (the back-side) space is now officially ad space, the most sought after now-a-days! This; advertisements, not the footballers' butt space, seems to be the elixir for industries where service/ product differentiation no longer exists. In fact, the fight now has shifted to another arena; that of ad revenue generation. Keeping in line with the most lucrative trend, this might prove to be a revenue generator. How about this, "Offer advertisements as CBRTs".
- Users who choose this option will not have to pay for the CBRT, and
- Tariffs be waivered for those who use advertisements as CBRTs, which would, I believe be more than compensated by the Advertising revenue

Convey my Message...
Anything common to meetings, movies and driving? No mobile phones! And guess what?! I have no clue why people call time and again if you cut the ring or don't pick the phone the first time...! I mean, the second time is still acceptable! But 4-5 times... dude, I am in a movie hall and I could possibly not pick the call without righteous looking aunties giving strange glares or louder taunts, their 2 yr old crying kid notwithstanding! So, all you Vodafones and Airtels, there is a suggestion! In place of CRBT, user should be given an option (or a mode) to set a tone which says that the 'user is in a meeting' or 'watching a movie' or 'driving a car' or 'simply that the user is currently busy and will call some time later'. Of course more interesting options like 'user doesn't want to talk to you' can be explored! So, if I am driving and someone calls me, I could be rest assured that the caller has got the message and would promptly cut the phone and wait for the call instead of repeatedly trying to call me. This, I believe would save you bandwidth and channel usage. In fact, you could use this as a CSR step even as cell-phone related motor accidents is on the rise. Imagine an ad saying 'Ab Vodafone users ka accident nahi hoga!' or something like that...!

And I am quite serious about these...I have mailed Vodafone and Airtel in this regard too... Just suggestions, I don't know how feasible this would be. Do comment on why this would or would not be feasible. Well, interestingly Airtel has a 'Mind to Market' link under their 'contact us' tab! It encourages ideas from users and corporates alike... Nice going I would say!

* For the uninitiated
CBRT - Call Back Ring Tones i.e. when you call some one, you hear film songs, bhajans, etc. This is the single largest revenue earner for network operators. This music market has equaled the sales of traditional music i.e. cassettes and CDs.

ARPU - Average Revenue Per User

VAS - Value Added Services. Services like music downloads, games, caller tunes, etc. are provided by 3rd party providers

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