This Is How Indian Telecom Industry’s Future Looks Like
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The fast pace at which telecom operators are expanding their reach and launching 4G services in India, it seems we are headed to another telecom revolution in the country. Indians can sure expect new services, better call quality and much more competitive call rates in the days to come. What else?

According to Nigel Eastwood, Group CEO- New Call Telecom, “With all telcos upgrading services 2016 will be the game changer where more people will do lot more on their smartphones, new users will upgrade to smartphones and fewer people use their desktops for everything from shopping to entertainment.”

This in turn would fuel the competition in the Indian telecom market, which means telcos would need to ensure that their premium customers are served better with improved quality of services in 2016. However, while telecom service providers in India will be spearheaded for growth, they need to address the problems Indians currently face on a regular basis first. The case in point being here that of call drops and a-not-so-great data network of service providers.

“Despite deep penetration of telecom services quality of both call and data services continue to be a concern. Both could do with plenty of improvements. Call drops are becoming frequent and buffering spoils data access, like video watching or gaming experience,” says Nigel.

He sure has a valid point to make. In the recent past, call drops have become so frequent that even Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad took a tough stand on the issue . Off late, he has been continuously pressuring the telcos to identify the gaps and fix them .

2016 trends in telecom

2015 proved to be quiet a beneficial year for Indian telcos and the telecom industry, and 2016 is expected to be bigger and better. While last year LTE, public Wi-Fi and wearables grabbed the limelight, this year, PwC has predicted several key trends, all of which point towards an intensifying battle in the telecom space.

One can even expect MTS-Reliance like merger or more spectrum trading/sharing deals between telcos like Idea-Videocon had announced recently. Moreover, Reliance Jio is also llikely to open up its services to consumers by April-May 2016 while other telcos firm up their plans to expand 4G services and roll out attractive packages to help consumers switch easily to the faster and better services. Vodafone has just successfully completed the first phase of its planned 4G roll out in the country.

Nigel feels that one of the biggest differentiators for Reliance Jio could be the actual costs of Jio services. Though the company hasn’t announced the prices yet, but he thinks that pricing could be between Rs 300 to Rs 500 a month for a bundle of data, e-commerce access, media and payment services. And this could be clearly a steal.

Oher telecom service providers like Vodafone, Airtel and Idea will have to resort to their own way to gain a strong foothold in the 4G space and win the battle. Vodafone is currently offering free upgrade to 4G along with a 4G SIM and has even tied up with Hungama for a content deal, where users get access to about 7,500 movies for three months, besides free access to music streaming service via Vodafone Music with a library of more than 1.2 million songs.

Airtel users are getting 4G services for 3G data prices with packs starting at the cost of a chocolate bar! In addition, with every 4G SIM swap, Airtel is offering six months of unlimited music streaming and downloads on 'Wynk Music' and five free movies per month for six months on the Eros Now channel of 'Wynk Movies'. Wynk Movies, a carrier agnostic mobile app, a kind of movie mall that offers curated library movies and other popular videos. The company has also introduced a new range of 'Infinity Plans' starting at just under Rs 1,000 – high-end offers for unlimited voice calls on mobile along with data benefits and access to 'Wynk Movies' and Wynk Music. By mid-2016, users will also have Idea Cellular 4G services to choose from; the telco might roll out its 4G services in 750 cities across 10 circles by that time, which means consumers will have more choice.

The time sure looks exciting for the telecom industry, but we say lower prices, 4G services, etc. all sounds good but won’t really make us happy if telcos will not be able to resolve the call drop issues this year. Wouldn’t you agree?