Oncoming data revolution
Apropos of the edit “Data tsunami” (FE, October 28), the telcos are strongly opposing the telecom regulator’s consumer-friendly decision to impose a penalty of R1 per instance of call drop on the plea that it will eat into nearly a third of their total revenue. Interestingly, this move is being seen by the consumer as a step in the right direction. However, it is also learnt that not just call drops, but the growing numbers of mobile net users are likely to receive some big setbacks in near future. Ironically, a sort of rat-race has begun among the ever-conscious telcom subscribers for gobbling up data services if the relevant year-on-year revenue related to data provided by Bharti Airtel and Idea cellular is any indication. The subscribers’ unending quest for accessing “tower to home” services has come as a godsend for the telcos. In any case, this development, even at the 3G stage, must have come as music to the ears of the telcos even when the much publicised concept of 4G is yet to be put in place. Its actual introduction may ultimately bring huge windfalls for them. But it also sends some warning signals to them as this would also consume a significant part of their present spectrum holding that is already stretched too thin. It needs to be added that even if the government gives the status of a public utility with an assured right of way to telcos, things are highly unlikely to move in the desired manner. Further, the telcos’ contention that there isn’t any penalty imposed on water/electricity suppliers for any deficiency in their services does not entitle them to seek an exemption from the levy of the TRAI-proposed penalty.
SK Gupta, Delhi
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