Telcos & call drops – apathy or profit driven?
What an irony – the very telcos that did such an amazing job in connecting India and creating huge employment over the last decade are just not measuring up today – when it comes to consumer experience. Call drops have become such a pain now that I wonder if there is any Indian not facing this problem.
And todays newspaper had a hilarious article on the telcos representing to the Supreme court why they should not pay fines for call drops. And the court has asked them why they cannot fix the problem !
From rapid expansion of networks, to handset pricing, to upgrading broadband or 2G,3 G,4 G capability to reach to the billion potential consumers and creating a telecom revolution, the telcos did a superb job along the journey.
Along the way came the government and regulator seeing this sector as a cash cow and milking it dry in whatever way possible through license fees, spectrum auctions, circle specific decision making. This made it almost impossible for the smaller players to last out and it was almost inevitable that they would be gobbled up by the big fish.
The telecom bubble was losing its fizz. That’s when the squeeze started – high capex and opex ate into bottom lines, investments in network improvement ( except to sell higher services at higher prices) generally took a backseat, data was preferred above voice only as a profit driver, businesses were restructured, jobs were realigned or outsourced more etc.
It is an era of consolidation after the heady growth phase. In simpler words Consolidation = Increase profits.
In this mad quarterly profit and guidance based environment the focus was always on the bottom line. Not that the bottom lines are bad, but the telcos always like to plead that they are bleeding, the government is sucking them dry with airwave fees, or that getting permissions for additional towers was getting tougher due to radiation fears ,operating costs are increasing.. the list can go on.
Somewhere along the line, the poor consumer who pays their bills, who wants only to talk peacefully has to silently suffer. Call rates are at the mercy of the operators, they can increase or slip in add ons at will and many consumers may not even be aware. With ebills becoming more the norm I wonder how many people actually check their bills before paying up.
To top it all hardly can one try and talk while on the move or in some buildings or parts of some offices without calls dropping.
It obviously was not a small problem, but big enough for the Telecom minister and the regulator to also get into the act and get tough with the telcos and ask them to pay fines to the consumers . Besides huffing and puffing and trying to garner sympathy votes, I wonder what the telcos have actually done on the ground to improve the situation?
The representation to the Supreme court as to why they should pay fines was laughable. But brings to the fore the apathy for the common man who only wants to talk without interruptions using a service he/she is paying for.
Profitability is not a dirty word – compromising on consumer experience is
Happy to get your thoughts and experiences . Do feel free to share this article too to your circle of influence.
My other 30 + articles are available athttps://www.linkedin.com/today/post/author/posts