Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular operated like a Big Lobby of GSM Wireless service providers without much focus on the market nor offerings. I’ll discuss this in detail on how Airtel and Idea Cellular miserably failed to innovate and take the first mover advantage in my next article. Currently at least 50% of A-Vo-ID Operators subscriber base is still plain vanilla 2G Voice and today Jio is unable to target them with 4G VoLTE. However with a low cost 4G feature phone, it can reach this segment of Continue reading Jio’s Lyf 4G Phone for Aam Aadmi
Google’s Android smart phone ecosystem growth has exceeded even our highest expectations (70% global smart phone share today vs. 20% in 2010). Android Smartphone shipments grew from 240mn in 2011 to 465mn in 2012, and 900mn by May 2013 [As announced in Google I/O]. The Android tablet ecosystem has been catching up with close to 50% Android market share by end of 2013 [IDC Estimates]
Android’s growth should help Google achieve three important strategic objectives – driving mobile usage growth, capturing developer mind share and encouraging Google product distribution, and containing the Google mobile TAC rate. Google also will see a reduced dependency on Apple’s products for distribution of Google’s search toolbars and apps.
Android O/S traction has clearly attracted mind share with developers, with apps available in the Google app store up 100% y/y to 800K, which has caught up to Apple at roughly 800K. One important thing to notice is the total app downloads on Google Play store(Android) still trailed that of Apple at 25B vs. 40B
Google said that six Google Apps were included in Apple’s App Store as best free apps of 2012, including YouTube, Chrome, Google Search, and Gmail. Google has also leveraged the Android ecosystem to help get OEMs to embed Google products in Android phones.
Monetization On PC Vs Tablets Vs SmartPhones by Google
Advertisers will no longer be able to distinguish between desktop and tablet CPCs, which will be grouped together by default. Google suggested that, “as devices converge, consumer behaviors on tablets and desktops are becoming very similar“.
After the advertiser sets their base bid for desktop / tablets, the advertiser can then set bid adjustments to increase or decrease their bids for mobile phones and different contexts, such as location and time of day. For example, when someone searches for “party supplies” on a smart phone within a mile radius from the store on Wednesday, then the location, time, and mobile bid adjustments set will apply, raising the bid by 50%.
Google is making mobile advertising a more automatic component in the campaign set-up, which should help drive more adoption, and making the process more streamlined. With Enhanced Campaigns, advertisers have a simplified platform (do not need to bid by O/S or carrier) and will be able to run ad campaigns that take better advantage of out of home device usage. For example, a flower shop that has a physical store and a website can use enhanced campaigns to better customize its advertising. When the store is open, the flower shop can have ads that show links to a store locator as well as the business phone number for smart phone users. When the shop closes at 5pm, the advertiser can set the ads to only show links to the website where customers can place their orders.
In the next article we’ll see how Google is aggressively Monetizing the Maps, one of the free products that it gave away for over 5 years.
Early Trends after the introduction of All India Mobile Number Portability is in-line with my expectation – CDMA and BSNL will be the biggest losers. Operators launched competing plans for Number Portability. Surprisingly it is Vodafone which has captured the most number of Port-Ins followed by Idea with its aggressive advertising campaign. However, compared to a massive 725 Mn Subscriber base on all India basis, the churn is very very low as I expected upto 5% of subscriber base then. It is not even 1% now so I was awful in this prediction.
Here is the complete Data on Operator, Port-In, Port-Out and Net Gain
- Vodafone 94747 44041 50,706
- Idea Cellular 74978 43011 31,967
Bharti Airtel’s management dismissed any threat from Reliance Mobile’s GSM Tariff war which includes Free minutes and Low Lifetime Pre-Paid validity cards. Significant number of questions in the Analyst call were related to the tariff war which was downplayed collectively by Akhil Gupta, Manoj Kohli and Sanjay Kapoor.
Mr. Sanjay Kapoor President, Mobile Services at Bharti Airtel said,
We will not have a knee jerk reaction. No free minutes models are sustainable. Reliance will eventually withdraw after sometime. Airtel will remain competitive with excellent QoS. Since Reliance GSM launch in the past few weeks, we have not seen any impact nor there is any such caution to be noticed.
I am not quite sure which of the above executives said this,
Free Minutes will see huge rise in traffic. There is a section of customers who are deal seekers and who churn from operator to operator. Once freebies stop, these customers move back or settle else where. We are not worried about this.
Coinciding with elimination of FREE Minutes and distinguishing itself as a Superior Wireless Company in India, Bharti Airtel did terminate some FREE minute schemes thus seeing lesser MOUs.
Mr. Sanjay Kapoor further came down heavily on Reliance Communications,
There is a cost differential in maintaining and expanding 900 MHz and 1800 MHz networks. Reliance currently has constant revenue stream and is thus offering FREE minutes to lure customer. However, this cannot go on as the company will start eating into its own revenues [60 CDMA mobile subscribers] and is self destructive. Market seeks Big Brands. The top 2 companies had 50% of the Revenue market share. Airtel has a huge loyal subscriber base.
Additional details from the Call,
- Airtel has seen an increase of less than 1% in Spectrum charges and is awaiting more spectrum in more circles.
- Addition of new users unlikely to drive the MOU / ARPUs. What this really means is as Airtel expands in rural areas, market expected customers to rise and MOU to fall, but looks like the company now has a solid strategy to preserve it from being eroded.
- Airtel declined to comment on WiMax bidding as the policies are still unclear and also for competitive reasons. [So this makes me thinking if Airtel now wants to bid for WiMax spectrum along with 3G ?]
- International Roaming revenues have been below expectations. [We really wish Mr. Maran was still in the HotSeat of IT & Communications ministry where we could have seen a drastic fall in International Roaming Rates]
Even with the launch of Reliance Mobile GSM discounted tariffs, Airtel clearly states that there is no shift from the sweet-spot to sub-optimal, at the moment 🙂 It is really worth noticing that Reliance continues to offer FREE calling while Airtel is against it. What are you consumers for ? [Remember QoS, Customer Care etc]