Friday, October 06, 2006

BSNL versus the rest

Everyone knows that in the recent turf wars for more telephone market share, BSNL has been the big loser. Sure, they are still the second or third biggest operator in the mobile phone market and they are really the biggest landline service provider - they are not really known for their nimbleness. It is very evident, when it comes to creating markets, BSNL is a poor second. In many places in Bangalore, there are no land lines. One can argue that we dont need landlines, but they do have a place. In each of these the private chaps have moved first.

The key difference I believe is in the organization structure (and hence some incentives). All of the telcos except BSNL has a sales force driven culture. When there is a new building being built/moved into, Airtel or Tata or Reliance is always there ( a few minutes away from each other) offering, free EPABX, integrated wiring, bulk discounts (more than say, 30 or 50 subscribers), combined offer on broadband. BSNL interestingly has all these (and in some cases lower total cost of ownership), but they are stuck on marketing or in the fact that they still move based on 5 (or something) year plans. So while an Airtel always some infrastructure ready (or they create if you have a small bulk order like an apartment complex), BSNL simply shrugs its shoulders and says, we dont have a line there yet.

Our landline has a "work order" 2 years old as does our entire building. But there is no sight of BSNL. To figure out that we have a work order, we had to jump through a few hoops and then locate the exchange. True there were a few good employees who helped us out (but to seek them took us a short while) - but in the case of Airtel, Reliance and Tata, it is perhaps the efforts of all the thousands of foot soldiers (and incentive structure) in pushing markets and the effort of their infrastructure team that they make inroads while BSNL lies sleeping.

Earlier, how the individual drives Indian IT.

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