‘Mass Adop­tion of 4G is 2-3 Years Away’

The Economic Times - - Companies -

In­dia's top tel­cos may have bought 1800 MHz spec­trum re­cently with an eye on 4G ser­vices, but the mar­ket is not yet ready for ser­vices on the tech­nol­ogy, which is still two to three years away from large-scale adop­tion, says Idea Cel­lu­lar's chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer Sashi Shankar. Speak­ing to ET's Dan­ish Khan, Shankar adds that 3G still has a large role to play where the key for the in­dus­try is to in­crease the num­ber of users. Cheaper hand­sets will play a key role in boost­ing 3G. Ex­cerpts: How do you look at the In­dian 4G mar­ket? In­dia’s 4G mar­ket is in its early days cur­rently. 3G still has to play a large role and then the mi­gra­tion will hap­pen. We still feel that mass adop­tion of 4G ser­vices is 2-3 years away. What is your mar­ket­ing strat­egy to in­crease 3G adop­tion? The key for the whole in­dus­try is in­creas­ing num­ber of users. Be­cause num­ber of data users is very low in In­dia. We try and get people to try out our data net­work and see things which are rel­e­vant to them. We need to in­cul­cate the habit of feel­ing that mo­bile in­ter­net is use­ful for them. People need to un­der­stand that mo­bile in­ter­net is some­thing to be done, un­like voice which comes nat­u­rally. How im­por­tant are de­vices for in­creas­ing data up­take? We want de­vice prices to keep go­ing down far more than the world has. And, then we should be able to see huge up­take in terms of 3G. To­day, more and more people pre­fer a larger screen for data. We al­ready have 4-5 smart­phones with the low­est one at around .` 4,500 go­ing up to .` 12,000. We are con­sis­tently on the look­out for giv­ing smart­phones both at mid-and lower-end. Why are some cir­cles not per­form­ing well for Idea? Those are our new cir­cles, where we had launched ser­vices and due to li­cence can­cel­la­tion, lost per­mits. We re­bid for those cir­cles and won li­cences to op­er­ate. And, we are en­sur­ing that with more new sub­scribers, we are able to get the right share to Idea. Presently, we are in cus­tomer ac­qui­si­tion mode in those cir­cles. Post that, we should bring it out to prof­itabil­ity with the help of pa­ram­e­ters like price and MoU (min­utes of us­age). What could be the new rev­enue streams for Idea Cel­lu­lar? Go­ing for­ward, things that are al­ready hap­pen­ing in de­vel­oped world like mo­bile ad­ver­tis­ing, mo­bile health could be rev­enue streams. En­ter­prise seg­ment could also be a big rev­enue stream.

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