Sunday, January 22, 2006

Mobile Mania

India is reeling under massive mobile sales pitches these days. Not surprising, given the fact that India is the fastest growing mobile market in the world. With the figures crossing 50 million users last year, there is no debate on that one. Indian mobile users too are having a field day.

Among the god-knows-how-many schemes, the one that is feverishly being marketed and also being subscribed is the 'Lifetime SIM' scheme for pre-paid mobile users. Touted as the mother of all schemes, it promises the buyer of the SIM a lifetime of free incoming calls. Every cellular service provider worth his salt is announcing this scheme, albeit with slight variations. "Pay Rs. 999 and get a lifetime sim free", announces one guy. The other shouts "Pay only 950 and get a lifetime SIM free". TV ads too are getting crazier and are targeting the lowest segment of the service class that include taxi drivers, milk men, etc.

I happened to visit my local photocopy maker yesterday. He incidentally also sells SIM cards. I casually enquired him of the new scheme. He said, "Sir, This is one of the best schemes I have minted money with. My daily earnings from just selling this lifetime SIM card is easily hovering between Rs. 40000 to 50000. On days when customers come in asking for cards, I am already out of stock. Even the companies selling these cards are errant in their supply". I was shocked. Just one sales agent is selling 40-50 SIM cards a day. That translates to about 300 cards being sold in just my town that boasts of about 10-12 SIM card dealers. Now if I project the figure to get nationwide statistics, it sure will make you drop your jaw. 5000 towns multiplied by 300 cards per town gives a astounding 1,500,000 ( 1.5 million cards every day).

My interest aroused, I probed him further, "Who are your customer for this SIM card ?". "Mostly villagers, college students, especially girls, traveling sales representatives", he answered. I could see a pattern emerging. The population segment being targeted by the cellular companies was specifically the ones who wanted to possess mobile phones so that people could get in touch with them, but they themselves were not required to make calls frequently. India, sure has a huge chunk of people in this sector.

TRAI ( Telecom Regulatory Authority of India ) has raised objection to this latest sales gimmick by the operators on how operators can promise lifetime SIM cards when they themselves have been issued operational licenses for a 20 year period. All objections apart, it goes to show how vast and untapped the Indian mobile market still is. Cellular operators are laughing their way to the banks.


DareDevil said...

nice post

Granny said...

Hello vj

Just dropping in with greetings from California, USA.

I saw you over on Dmitri's blog.

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