Sunday, February 05, 2006

Government telcos in India go aggressive

BSNL, the government-owned Indian telephone company that used to make us wait for 10 years or more for a phone connection, is now all charged up and competing head-on with cellular providers and others. They provide the cheapest high-speed Internet service in most parts of India, and are now flattening out long-distance calling at Re. 1 per minute. That's still not flat rate, but that can't be far away. They are taking a Rs. 5000 crore/year hit with expectations of higher revenues.

This can only be gut-wrenching for the PCOs (Public Call Offices) though. Today, most people still use PCOs for long-distance calling. If everyone starts connecting up long-distance from home, PCOs will not have much of a reason to exist. It's a good time for Internet entrepreneurs to help PCO-operators to transform themselves into community-ISPs or something of the sort.

hmm.. on my last trip to India, I saw the kiranamaal shops (local grocery shops) going out of business. Things are changing quite fast. I hope the poor PCO operators see the change coming.
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