October 10, 2007


Let a thousand Vakows bloom

If you think, the telcos are ripping you by charging exorbitantly for GPRS/EDGE, or ISPs for broadband, think again. The most expensive data service in India is SMS, especially to the short-code services. To send less than 160 characters to a premium short-code service, you pay Rs 3. That is Rs 19,659 per MB, if you consider each message to be 160 char long, which generally goes grossly underutilized. It's like paying a peti to watch Sony's ad on YouTube. That's outrageously high, unless your name is Mukesh Ambani.

Such SMS rates remind me of the long-disntace calls by BSNL some 5 years back, when calling to a location more than 500 kms away was charged at Rs 18 per minute! Now it is anywhere from Rs 0 to Rs 2. Or the tariff for international calls was Rs 60 per minute which have now come down to Rs 2 per minute. During those days, waiting till 9pm to call home, when rates used to be a third of peak rate, was not uncommon. Now, nobody thinks about time of the day or distance when calling. Also, nobody thinks about duration of the call. If you take into account annual inflation of 5%, the telecom charges have come down by 90-97%.

I think, time is ripe for another telecom revolution. The SMS should be dirt cheap. Like, say, Rs 100 per month for unlimited messages. The premium message can be dropped to Rs 0.5, which can easily result into 20x increased traffic. The oligopoly of private telcos need to realize this.

That would be the trigger for hundreds of innovative services like Vakow!.

Ads should definitely be filtered out of video content. One of the reasons, users are watching content online, is due to the quantity available.

If you are into watching Hindi movies, try www.interval.in

Relax, take a break at Interval
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