Anyuser Telecom has reduced ISD tariffs again. It now costs just Rs0.99/Minute to call the US and Canada 🙂 Another lesser known Indian firm is at the heart of innovation and leading the bleeding edge of VoIP technology – GeoDesic. GeoDesic has an IM client – Mundu for enterprises, portals and also your mobiles. Install Mundu Speak on your handset and talk unlimited to any phone in the world which has Mundu client. Currently, Mundu is supported on Nokia 6680, 6681, 6682, 6630 & N-Series N70, N90 on the Symbian platform; and phones with Windows Mobile 5.0 / Windows Mobile 2003SE for Pocket PC. Mundu already boasts about 1 Million users within the first 3 months of launch.
Yahoo also supports its YM! client on Nokia N-Series so will all other leading clients(MSN, AOL, GTalk) be ported to popular phones to grab a slice of this market.
Bharti-Airtel has the following GPRS plans which you will need to use Mundu Speak. Rs399, Rs599 and Rs799 per month which lets you download 100MB, 1GB and 1.5GB of data respectively. Above those limits its Rs0.10/KB. Isn’t Mundu really a cool product to keep in touch with your overseas friends and relatives so cheap that you can rant about Ramayana and Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi over your mobile 😉
Even though net telephony is legal in India from Jan-2006, their is still lot of il-legal termination of these calls on PSTN circuits /landphones without proper agreement and royalties. In a letter to the DoT, the Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI) said:
Internet telephony services can be offered in India either by an ISP specifically permitted to do so or by a unified access service licensee. However, several service providers such as Skype, Net2Phone, Yahoo, and MSN, are providing Internet telephony services to people in India. Most of these foreign service providers do offer termination in Indian fixed-line telephones as well.
Also, such service offering is resulting in loss of revenue to the Government by way of licence fee as well as by way of service tax.
As usual, our Government is too slow to act and its policies way too old for the fast changing world of technology. Ultimate loser is the consumer.
Triple Play – Phone, Internet and TV(Cable, IPTV, DishTV) is the new buzzword amongst Indian telcos. BSNL and Bharti – Airtel are planning to introduce IPTV while Tatas has joined hands with Star TV to offer Tata-Sky DTH(Dish) service. Reliance Communications has announced mega plans through its subsidiary, Reliance BlueMagic but its still not yet clear if they want to provide either Dish or IPTV or both. DishTV which earlier obtained an order from TDSAT has now moved to the Supreme Court over Star TVs high pricing. Reminds me of the ugly cable wars of late 90s.
BSNL which started its piolt project in Pune is now expanding it to other parts of the country. It makes sense for BSNL to take the IPTV route via ADSL broadband because of the abundant copper cable network it has to reach the end customer. BSNL added 10 more exchanges to the existing 8 so that they have a central office every 4 Kms radius. However, Bharti-Airtel has very thin penetration of its broadband as well as land phones. Here is the questionnaire I have sent to Bharti-Airtel.
Looks like Triple play is doing extremely well in Asia while telecom executives are skeptical about it brining any revenues in the US. In a separate development, Tech Mahindra announced their plans to offer IPTV solutions to Indian service providers.
Business Standard reports that Indian telcos are experimenting with IPTV rollouts in select cities by the end of Q2-2006. Hats off to Shri. Dayanidhi Maran, union minister of IT & communications without whom we would be still struggling to shape our cell phone industry. Why is this a significant development in India ?
Indians didn’t have another alternative for their Cable TV programmes. The cable industry was mainly controlled by local dons with the support of netas. Efforts to privatize the cable industry had even led to the murder of some corporate executives. Also due to Cable infrastructure bottlenecks, Video on demand would have remained a dream for the Indian consumer.
Rapidly changing telecom technology has made this Convergence of TV and Broadband possible in India. If Google and Verizon are to be believed, then the world will be IP based. Its a good move by Indian telcos to directly adopt IP technology. Also Indian telecom companies like BSNL, Reliance and Bharti have unused fiber laid throughout the country which can be put to use effectively. True convergence in India 🙂