Thursday, April 21, 2005

Budget phone anyone?

Budget airlines made a splash. Is there space for "budget" in other markets ? I was thinking about this and my mind went to my Cellone connection. Cellone is the government cell service provider in India. The other big national players from the private sector are Reliance and Airtel. There are others like Hutch (Orange), Tata Indicom, and a whole host of fringe players.

Most of them offer SMS, MMS, Voice Services, News, WAP, Ring tones, Ring backs, Pictures and a whole host of peripheral services like movie ticket booking, stock updates. Cellone does not offer any of these ( or if it does, it is badly marketed). For a user who is not interested in sending fancy MMS or clicking pictures and sending it all over or booking movie tickets through phone web, Cellone is the best service. Its roaming rates are affordable, inter state dialling is also cheaper and it is available all over the country ( unlike the others).

Should Cellone emulate the other players and offer everything or should it, like budget airlines, offer basic phone services and leave out the rest?

Going by cellones experience, I believe there is space for a budget mobile phone service here nd elsewhere. A service which gives users basic reliable phone access, good rates on roaming and good STD and ILD rates. I am not sure if it would work as a standalone service or if it would be better if a premium phone service provider made a budget version available.

What about other markets? We have seen Tata Indione which is a "budget" (more value for money than budget) hotel. Is there more?

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