[DC3] FW: Two Years Ago, India Lacked Fast, Cheap Internet—One Billionaire Changed All That - The Wall Street Journal.

Sarbani Banerjee Belur sarbanibelur at iitb.ac.in
Thu Sep 6 02:50:27 UTC 2018

Jio has created such a stir in India but it is interesting to see that 
the remote, rural villages are still not covered by Jio. I recently 
visited 10 villages in the remote tribal villages of Maharashtra, these 
villages still do not have voice and data connectivity. These villages 
are 4 hours away from Mumbai and this is their state of connectivity. 
What I see about these telecom operators is that :

1) They prefer the highways to be connected. 2 kms away from the highway 
connectivity slackens. This is not in all places but in a majority of 

2) We can see devices put up on huge towers which usually has multi 
tenancy. Why then the villagers do not have any connectivity? I think 
the answer to this is because these telecom operators have a bare 
minimum bandwidth at those locations. This bandwidth is insufficient to 
cover the villages. In some places, I personally saw that Jio signals 
are so weak and feeble. Barely can the villagers make phone calls and 
video downloads etc does not take place at all. But all villagers in 
these villagers have a Jio phone and Jio Sim card. I feel that it is 
marketing gimmick of Jio for more and more coverage.

3) During discussion with some of the technicians in these towers, they 
confided that operation and maintenance is very difficult in towers that 
are located so far away from the city.

4) Jio's invasion has eaten up on telecom operators who were serving the 
rural population like Tata Teleservices. Tata Teleservices closed down 
and there has been great mergers in India. But the real scenario is that 
Jio has also not covered the rural population. There focus is only in 
the urban areas.

I feel the only thing left is approaching the local ISPs for bandwidth 
coverage. They are eager to do it. But they lack the infrastructure 
capability like other telecom operators. These local ISPs are not so 
professional as the telecom operators also. But they are efficient and 
hardworking and are truly interested in connecting these villages. They 
even do not have a profit motive at the back of their mind like the 
private telecom operators. As these local ISPs are one amongst the 
common people like these villagers, they understand the needs of the 
people much more than the telecom giants who look for profit always.


With regards,


On 06-09-2018 01:35, Sivasubramanian M wrote:
> On Thu, Sep 6, 2018 at 12:46 AM Edliano Valeriano <edliano at hotmail.com 
> <mailto:edliano at hotmail.com>> wrote:
>     That´s ok.
> I would be cautious about a blanket OK.
> Twelve or fourteen years ago, Reliance entered the mobile voice 
> connectivity business with some disruptive changes to the way the 
> telecom firms worked in India. Eventually, Reliance's telecom division 
> was structurally partitioned away as Reliance Infocom within the 
> family, and after a time gap of 10 years it is now Reliance, under the 
> brand name Jio.
> Even twelve years ago, the scale of operations and the technology 
> choices were impressive. What Reliance appears to do now replicates a 
> similar jump in technology and standards which has a nation wide 
> impact. It is true that this company is not hesitant to invest in a 
> submarine network, or to bring in current technologies (4G) and it is 
> true that the bandwidth offered in most places (as far as I know or 
> sense) is high by existing Indian telecom standards. This is of value 
> to India.
> But I would be cautious before rushing into a raving review. A telecom 
> company is a telecom company.  Jio came up with introductory offers 
> that offered Internet for 3 months almost free. Its prices for data 
> are lower than the competitors and prompted competitors to lower 
> prices. I would see this as a pricing strategy for the introductory 
> phase, that would eventually accumulate a subscriber base of 300 
> million or more users in India, each of whom would gradually pay 
> recurrent and increasing subscription / data charges, say an average 
> of $5 per month per connection for basic usage, which would then 
> translate to a billion dollar or two per month of revenues from basic 
> mobile voice/data services alone, not counting fiber to home revenues 
> or corporate revenues or value added revenues. So, its initial policy 
> of attractively low prices is not really charity.
> My concerns (others from India may have more observations or concerns):
> 1. What is actually a "Plan"?  Why do telecom firms offer confusing 
> plans ?  Why not a more straightforward straight line, uniform billing 
> process?
> 2. What is unseen behind the phone company's pricing plan and 
> relatively liberal data bundle?
> ( I recently took a post paid plan that offered 25 GB of data for $5 a 
> month, at present there is no other post-paid plan, when data limit is 
> reached, the incremental charges amount to about 30 cents per GB, 
> which is surprisingly low by current industry practices, but still why 
> isn't pro rata? And why is there is there a limit of $2 or $3 of 
> incremental data after which the data connection abruptly stopped 
> working? Reliance pushed text warnings for every one or two cents of 
> additional usage, I tried an additional advance deposit of $25 even 
> after which the messages persisted. The phone company appeared to have 
> total and complete control over my phone, the push messages bypassed 
> all phone / Operating System and Application settings on my android 
> phone, no changes in phone or O/S or app settings stopped the 
> irritating messages, and my email messages that asked them how and why 
> they had so much control over my phone settings went unanswered.  
> Probably, what was bundled with its low prices and relatively high 
> bandwidth was a compromise on the ownership of the user's device. )
> 3. 2. ( I don't know) What are their roaming charges for voice and 
> data when the phone is to be used overseas?
> 4. Small charges, often invisible, often too low to dispute, from a 
> hundred million users, every month, add up to a huge sum of money, 
> akin to the manner in which banks accumulate revenues unnoticed. Does 
> its pricing model already include or likely to include in future,  
> invisible small charges for incremental revenues in excess of straight 
> line revenues?
> 5. Does the policy environment in the past and at present make it 
> selectively easier for Reliance to install and deploy infrastructure 
> so extensively? With a more open and far more uniform policy 
> environment, would India have attracted other Telecom firms, other 
> business houses or even a new class of investors to bring about these 
> many or more innovations?
> 6. Is this article, even by a miniscule degree of chance, preemptive 
> coverage to project an impression that private telecom operators 
> fulfil all the communication needs satisfactorily and that Community 
> Networks are not really relevant in India?
> Sivasubramanian M
>     ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>     *De:* dc3-bounces at listas.altermundi.net
>     <mailto:dc3-bounces at listas.altermundi.net>
>     <dc3-bounces at listas.altermundi.net
>     <mailto:dc3-bounces at listas.altermundi.net>> em nome de dc3 at bob.ma
>     <mailto:dc3 at bob.ma> <dc3 at bob.ma <mailto:dc3 at bob.ma>>
>     *Enviado:* quarta-feira, 5 de setembro de 2018 15:41
>     *Para:* 'Dynamic Coalition on Community Connectivity '
>     *Assunto:* [DC3] FW: Two Years Ago, India Lacked Fast, Cheap
>     Internet—One Billionaire Changed All That - The Wall Street Journal.
>     I’d be interested in a reality check on this story “Two Years Ago,
>     India Lacked Fast, Cheap Internet—One Billionaire Changed All That
>     https://www.wsj.com/articles/two-years-ago-india-lacked-fast-cheap-internetone-billionaire-changed-all-that-1536159916”
>     (tell me if you need a pdf or other form).
>     There is still the issue of having to negotiate with a provider
>     for each device in each place for each purpose but that’s a topic
>     in its own right.
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> -- 
> Sivasubramanian M
> Please send all replies to 6.Internet at gmail.com 
> <mailto:6.Internet at gmail.com>
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Dr. Sarbani Banerjee Belur
Senior Project Research Scientist
Program Manager
Gram Marg: Rural Broadband Project
Department of Electrical Engineering
IIT Bombay
Mumbai 400076
Mob: +91 9867282979
      +91 7045620077
Website: www.grammarg.in
Homepage: http://homepages.iitb.ac.in/~sarbanibelur/
Blog: sarbanibelur.blogspot.com

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