Showing posts from March, 2011

3G in Mumbai - high prices sour the deal

Airtel finally rolled out their 3G services in Mumbai yesterday and a friend reported getting Vodafone 3G on his cell too. For most of us here, it has been a long and frustrating wait - BSNL users have been enjoying the facility across the country for the last 2-3 months. I think we  have been almost the large major city to get 3G. Of course, Reliance and MTNL have both offered it here for some time. I have spent today comparing the tariffs of all major operators, and I am frankly a little disappointed. I did not expect unlimited plans given the amount of licence fees that operators have  paid for the spectrum. But I did expect better rates than what are on offer today. There is a fair degree of parity in the pricing and plans offered by the operators in Mumbai so I am making some broad observations across the board. I do not have data for Vodafone as they are yet to put up the Mumbai tariffs on their website 1) Dearth of attractive prepaid packs In an earlier  post  this month

What to do if your MTNL connection slows down

It's just over a year since I have taken a broadband connection with MTNL Mumbai and apart from the initial delay in installation, I am an extremely happy customer. Over the last 5 years, I have sampled several service providers across home and workplace - Tikona, Tata Indicom Broadband, Reliance Broadband, Airtel etc. One of the first posts I made in this blog was about  email  as the best way to get customer complaints addressed compared to helpline. This holds especially true of MTNL also. Recently my MTNL connection became painfully slow. I was getting a downstream rate of only 300 kbps as against 'upto 2 mbps' which was promised for my prepaid plan. Now this is what is  put up  on the MTNL site about speed that they offer; "Extract of TRAI notification dated 6.10.2006 for QOS of Broadband Services - "keeping the reasonable loading level in intra-network links upto ISP Node, the benchmark has been prescribed that service providers shall ensure the speed of

Will India benefit from reduced iPad 1 prices?

Leading tech publications have reported that Apple is offering a partial refund of $100 to all people who purchased an iPad in the last 15 days leading up to the launch of iPad 2. (ie. after Feb 16th). Following suit, AT&T has also reduced the price of the older generation iPad by $100. I wonder if this has any implication for India, where the older generation iPad was launched last month, in a price range of Rs.30,000-Rs.35,000. Assuming that Apple would want to clear its inventory, I hope that they offer the lowered prices here also. A Rs.5000 or more discount would make the latest toy a hugely attractive purchase. Every time I visit an Apple store, or a Croma, I see some besotted teenager playing on the iPad until dragged away reluctantly by their parents. I am sure that a lower price would go a long way to make parents re-consider buying one for their offspring (In India, we claim that kids influence tech purchases hugely, but I suspect that sometimes we just make them an ex

Mobile advertising in India and the growth of Android

Last month Fortune reported Piper Jaffray's estimation that Android could generate $1 billion in advertising for Google. To quote the analyst, Gene Munster, "We believe Google's ARPU on Android was $5.90 in 2010. We believe Google's average revenue per search user was $18.85 in 2010 and average revenue per user for Google's advertising businesses in total was $25.77 in 2010." While this puts Google's ARPU (average revenue per user) from mobiles significantly below PCs, Munster notes that the revenue per user for mobiles will soon go up to $10, and with increased app downloads from Android marketplace, in-app advertising will also add significantly to revenue. This is Google's business model and the very reason for existence of Android as an open source OS that does not directly benefit Google. Out of all the mobile OS platforms today, Android is poised for rapid growth owing to the huge manufacturer base and the inherent flexibility it offer

Going prepaid pays

Every time I have taken a broadband connection, I have opted to go prepaid - first with Tata Indicom Broadband, then with MTNL, and most recently, with Reliance Net Connect. I would classify myself as a heavy user of the net, still I have found that the prepaid broadband plans of all these telcos have provided me with adequate bytes, and at a much lower price than a postpaid plan. Just one disclaimer - heavy user, is not the same as heavy downloader :). I need the full bandwith of 2 mbps but I do not need unlimited GB for music/ movie downloads. In this context, prepaid plans work just fine. Here are my examples of prepaid vs. post paid usage 1) MTNL I paid MTNL approximately Rs. 6000 per annum for 25 GB of data last year and the prepaid connection ran out exactly 10 days before the recharge was due. At Rs.500 per month, what I paid was equivalent to a basic broadband plan. Some months, I am continuously travelling, and I did not need to pay for *non-used* bandwith or rental in

Will 2011 be the year of mobile computing in India?

Two interesting pieces of news inspired this post. Engadget reported IDC figures citing that in Q42010, smartphone shipments overtook PC shipments for the first time. Globally, approximately 100 million smartphones shipped in Q4 2010, as against 92 million PCs. Secondly, Gizmodo pointed out that the  5 global best selling handsets in Q4 were all smartphones. (The Apple iPhone 4 tops the list, which also includes the iPhone 3GS and the Motorola Droid). Analysts at Gartner and other companies have been predicting that the future of computing lies in handhelds like smartphones and tablets, rather than laptops or desktop PCs. In fact, Gartner has recently  lowered their PC sales forecast for 2011 and 2012 based on the consumer enthusiasm for tablets and smartphones. To quote George Shiffler, Research Director at Gartner, "..We now believe that consumers are not only likely to forgo additional mobile PC buys but are also likely to extend the lifetimes of the mobile PCs they