India’s mobile giants battle it out in the villages
Monday, January 23, 2006
Mobile phone companies are taking cheap handsets and life-time prepaid services to India’s hundreds of millions of low-income earners in a bid to expand market share and maintain their break-neck rates of growth.
Mobile ownership surged in December — with a record 4.5 million new users — after carriers targeted India’s poorer citizens with the launch of services that guarantee a number for life for just over $20.
In the past, a prepaid number would cease to exist if it was not topped up after a certain period of time.
Better-off Indian mobile users are already enjoying the benefits of a no-holds-barred war in the industry that is driving user growth and keeping call prices down.
And analysts say the party will only get bigger, with carriers aiming at the two-thirds of India’s billion-plus people living in villages and small towns.
Already home to the world’s lowest local call rates — under 2 U.S. cents a minute — the sector should see more mergers, a further fall in call rates, better content and cheaper handsets.
Overseas carriers building assets in the world’s fastest-growing major cellphone market are bringing a greater emphasis on customer care.
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(HT: Dad @ work)