Reverse Bundling – Will That Change India’s Handset & 3G Ecosystem?

reverse bundling indiaIn recent time BSNL and MTNL, the state owned opeator duo have entered into several reverse bundling agreements with many device manufacturers. This is quite different approach, as many operators like MTS and Idea Cellular are bundling offers with their own branded device line up.

It can be noted that BSNL and MTNL both are in this approach from the very first, since the 3G sets in. BSNL has entered into reverse bundling agreements with different vendors – Micromaxc, Linkwell (VisionTek), Seuji ASPL (SkyNet 3G), Teracom and Shyam Network (Winknet) for 3G data cards; Magicon for 2G handsets; Pantel and Wishtel for tablets; Linkwell (VisionTek) and Shyam Network (Winknet) for 3G routers. In this approach the vendors adds BSNL SIM with the device and with the activation BSNL offers some free goodies, say free some data or talktime.

Airtel, Aircel, Vodafone, Reliance and Tata Docomo – almost all operators are offering voice and data bundles when a customer buys a specific handsets and activates his/her mobile number on their networks.

In US or Europe conventional bundling model works good, as the operators there offer the device at a heavy discount with 2 year long postpaid plans. The operators can offer subsidy as ARPU there is not low as in India and there is generally no breach of contract as the operators store the customers’ credit card details for auto payment at the end of the month.

In India majority of customers are prepaid, so operators have to change the bundling model – you buy a device from the list and activate your mobile number to get free goodies. There is no discount on phone price but you will get free talktime and data. In recent deals you can see every operators are adding data on the offers.

As I told earlier MTS has brought MTag brand for their high speed internet access devices (smartphones and tablets) – MTS is selling devices from Huawei, ZTE, Alcatel, Lava, Coolpad under MTag brand at discounted price and adds some free data and talktime. This model is good considering MTS is offering services on CDMA platform which is loosing its shine in India.

But Idea Cellular is also doing the same but it is good. Among the roadblocks behind poor 3G uptake one is price of 3G devices. In case the 3G handsets come down to Rs 3000 it can work well, but with that operator has to lure the subscribers to stay on its network adding 3G data (at least 1GB) for 1 year for free or at a nominal charge.

As 4G is coming, conventional bundling is seemed to the logical answer. India’s 4G will be LTE-TDD on 2300MHz, something is new to LTE-FDD on 700/800/1800-1900 MHz. So to see faster uptake of 4G operators must set the goal in a long term – devices must be offered at a discounted price. RIL Infotel is rumored to be entered into various vendors including Notion Ink (Adam tablet maker), we can probably see wide range of devices supporting Infotel’s 4G/LTE-TDD network.

What do you think bundling (in reverse or conventional) will make the handset and 3G/4G ecosystem stronger? Drop comments!

This Article Was Written By: Rudradeep Biswas

Rudradeep Biswas - Senior Telecom Analyst

The happy guy RDB (stands for Rudradeep Biswas) has been writing for Telecomtalk since 2009, covering mobile operators, 3G, broadband, WiFi, 4G, LTE, telecom policies and what-not related to Indian telecom. He is by profession a doctor, did his MBBS from R.G.Kar Medical College, Kolkata.

{ 27 comments… add one }

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  • KUNHIRAMAN October 8, 2012 9:00 pm, 9:00 PM

    BSNL 3G IS CHAEAPER AND FASTER COMPARED TO ANY PRIVATE OPERATORS , AND ALWAYS BELEIVE BSNL , IT IS NATION MAKING COMPANY

    Reply
  • Suneel October 8, 2012 7:31 pm, 7:31 PM

    BSNL 3g is faster than that of any other operator provided there is signal in your area.
    Happy Browsing/Downloading. :)

    Reply
  • Rohit October 8, 2012 11:20 am, 11:20 AM

    I think the operators will have to balance out between reverse and forward Bundling. Both are the need of the day . Reverse – bcos operator bandwidth to sell devices and manage their life cycle is limited ; forward – bcos device manufacturer’s limited capability to further subsidise and push down the prices of devices in order to increase the base of better quality devices .If both the device manufacturer and operator go hand-in-hand and ride on each other’s strength – both will benefit and will be able to save on costs and pass on the benefit to the consumer

    Reply
  • Sudhakar October 8, 2012 6:12 am, 6:12 AM

    Venkat,
    Well said. I have bought Nokia N8-00. But I am using Reliamce GSM because I feel it is the cheapest. This mobile provider has only 2G here !!!.

    Reply
  • aditya trivedi October 8, 2012 12:45 am, 12:45 AM

    Conventional bundling only possible when aadhar comes out, lock phones give them a 2 year contract and if they dont pay for phone then dont give them loan to buy a car or home. This is what happens in US and Europe, but india is different. In India people change their network each and every day. I wonder why they even give reverse contract

    Reply
  • venkat October 8, 2012 12:01 am, 12:01 AM

    Bundling will be the one of the answers for the ever changing and confusing Indian tariffs,it is not open fully understand the tariffs as it the reflects operators one of the making profits.my real s
    @ram
    My dear , what is the use of high priced handset or handsets which is having advance hardware specification there is no use if you are getting 10 year old technology from your operator

    Reply
  • ujjawal October 7, 2012 11:27 pm, 11:27 PM

    please tell me the difference between different spectrum bands
    likee 2300, 700 etc

    Reply
  • HighInCourt October 7, 2012 11:19 pm, 11:19 PM

    @Sahil Shah
    SAhil High Court mein naaahin aata hau ya GNLU mein ;)

    New Settings dal ke Switch off karde problem solve ho jayegi :)

    Reply
  • Sudhakar October 7, 2012 10:13 pm, 10:13 PM

    I know that technology in India will arrive and go. But it will not be affordable by common man and no one will use. It is like a DURANTO TRAIN crossing all the stations non stop.

    Even 5G may be launched in India. Even at that time, 3G will be costly and people will be using 2G or 2.75G !!!. This will be the situation in this technologically slum India.

    Reply
  • Ajay October 7, 2012 9:21 pm, 9:21 PM

    I don’t except anything special from operator in 2300 MHz band,they also have to survive.

    Reply
  • Amit Deb Biswas October 7, 2012 8:58 pm, 8:58 PM

    Saurabh :

    Kaushik :
    4G will bring the much awaited telecom revolution in India.

    Telecom revolution??? You’re mistaken. Telecom has been revolutionized in India since 2005. 4G can only bring data or wireless broadband revolution but not now. May be in next 5-8 years. Network coverage with 2.3GHz band is one of the biggest concerns for BWA spectrum holders and to overcome it you require huge investment. Revolution in India can only be brought with cheaper products and 4G is not going to be cheaper even if it is provided by Airtel or Reliance or Tikona or Aircel or anyone.
    Revolution means mass adoption which VOICE has currently but not data. As per the facts or what reports suggests, telecom operators still have 85-90 percent of their revenues being generated from voice and near about 4-5 percent from data and rest from SMS and other VAS like caller tunes etc. So how can one say 4G which is only a data-based technology can bring revolution? I’m not ruling out the possibility but yes it will take atleast half a decade from now.
    The 4G mobile broadband spectrum band i.e 700MHz band will be put on auction in next 3-4 years and it would be priced higher than 900MHz band. Which telecom company in India will have the potential to bid for that? I mean operators are struggling with revenues from 3G as of now and we can’t expect them to go for 4G mobile broadband spectrum. To what extent they will stretch their balance sheet. I’m ending with a quote by Ratan Tata which he made in 2003,
    “Operators who lower tariffs to gain customers are mistaken. Other service providers will also lower varied and in the process everybody will go bankrupt.”

    last line is just fatafati :D hope u know the meaning of fatafati … if not the plz listen 11th song of barfi! :p

    Reply
  • Rakesh October 7, 2012 8:46 pm, 8:46 PM

    Till company is not reducing the pricing of 3g or 4g it may not work. Right now every user want unlimited plan but no operator is daring to do so every operator is limited to 128 Kbps.what will be download speed max 15 kbps.

    Reply
  • avisek October 7, 2012 8:21 pm, 8:21 PM

    bsnl is best than other.every indian should use bsnl for 3g if network is available in their locality.

    Reply
  • RanJos October 7, 2012 8:21 pm, 8:21 PM

    I don’t think 4G will make a difference as 3G is enough for most Indian smartphone users, as they don’t use the web as much as westerners do. And most importantly, 4G will be extremely expensive in INR as far as I’m informed.

    Reply
  • krishna October 7, 2012 8:19 pm, 8:19 PM

    In Gujarat BSNL is connecting all its 3G BTS to OCLan i.e 1 Gbps to increase 3G speed.

    Reply
  • max October 7, 2012 8:02 pm, 8:02 PM

    Saurabh :

    Kaushik :
    4G will bring the much awaited telecom revolution in India.

    Telecom revolution??? You’re mistaken. Telecom has been revolutionized in India since 2005. 4G can only bring data or wireless broadband revolution but not now. May be in next 5-8 years. Network coverage with 2.3GHz band is one of the biggest concerns for BWA spectrum holders and to overcome it you require huge investment. Revolution in India can only be brought with cheaper products and 4G is not going to be cheaper even if it is provided by Airtel or Reliance or Tikona or Aircel or anyone.
    Revolution means mass adoption which VOICE has currently but not data. As per the facts or what reports suggests, telecom operators still have 85-90 percent of their revenues being generated from voice and near about 4-5 percent from data and rest from SMS and other VAS like caller tunes etc. So how can one say 4G which is only a data-based technology can bring revolution? I’m not ruling out the possibility but yes it will take atleast half a decade from now.
    The 4G mobile broadband spectrum band i.e 700MHz band will be put on auction in next 3-4 years and it would be priced higher than 900MHz band. Which telecom company in India will have the potential to bid for that? I mean operators are struggling with revenues from 3G as of now and we can’t expect them to go for 4G mobile broadband spectrum. To what extent they will stretch their balance sheet. I’m ending with a quote by Ratan Tata which he made in 2003,
    “Operators who lower tariffs to gain customers are mistaken. Other service providers will also lower varied and in the process everybody will go bankrupt.”

    +1

    Reply
  • Saurabh October 7, 2012 7:23 pm, 7:23 PM

    Kaushik :
    4G will bring the much awaited telecom revolution in India.

    Telecom revolution??? You’re mistaken. Telecom has been revolutionized in India since 2005. 4G can only bring data or wireless broadband revolution but not now. May be in next 5-8 years. Network coverage with 2.3GHz band is one of the biggest concerns for BWA spectrum holders and to overcome it you require huge investment. Revolution in India can only be brought with cheaper products and 4G is not going to be cheaper even if it is provided by Airtel or Reliance or Tikona or Aircel or anyone.

    Revolution means mass adoption which VOICE has currently but not data. As per the facts or what reports suggests, telecom operators still have 85-90 percent of their revenues being generated from voice and near about 4-5 percent from data and rest from SMS and other VAS like caller tunes etc. So how can one say 4G which is only a data-based technology can bring revolution? I’m not ruling out the possibility but yes it will take atleast half a decade from now.

    The 4G mobile broadband spectrum band i.e 700MHz band will be put on auction in next 3-4 years and it would be priced higher than 900MHz band. Which telecom company in India will have the potential to bid for that? I mean operators are struggling with revenues from 3G as of now and we can’t expect them to go for 4G mobile broadband spectrum. To what extent they will stretch their balance sheet. I’m ending with a quote by Ratan Tata which he made in 2003,

    “Operators who lower tariffs to gain customers are mistaken. Other service providers will also lower varied and in the process everybody will go bankrupt.”

    Reply
  • Zeeshan October 7, 2012 6:40 pm, 6:40 PM

    @Ashtuosh
    I am also facing no problem with BSNL.

    Reply
  • aditya iyer October 7, 2012 5:52 pm, 5:52 PM

    gprs speeds are pretty bad almost everywhere..it seems that companies like to crimp bandwidth for unknown users…for the 3g revolution, i think our telecom companies need to grow up…250 bucks for 1 gb data(about 5 usd) thats way overpriced….also it seems our telecom companies fear that if they offer unlimited plans everyone would down load torrents and movies and clog networks…as if they have unclogged networks that is…

    Reply
  • Kaushik October 7, 2012 5:31 pm, 5:31 PM

    4G will bring the much awaited telecom revolution in India.

    Reply
  • gurpreet October 7, 2012 4:54 pm, 4:54 PM

    @sahil shah delete the apn settings and recreate it.problem will be solved

    Reply
  • Ashtuosh October 7, 2012 4:35 pm, 4:35 PM

    m using BSNL from last 6 yrs and m happy with my operator except sometimes when i faced call drops..rest all is awesome..BSNL has lowest tariff and most loyal company.When others are charging vigorously BSNL gives value for money. i never charged for any services that i haven’t activated unlike Airtel.Airtel worst company i ever experienced they charge and then customer knows OMG how this service is activated and by whome..?

    Reply
  • ram October 7, 2012 3:49 pm, 3:49 PM

    Yes,its true bsnl targeting with low priced gadjets,recently anounced bsnl*penta701c is good budjet freindly device. you are correct that we have take some advan

    Reply
  • Asit Paul October 7, 2012 3:16 pm, 3:16 PM

    BSNL Gprs sucks.
    I am not getting E, its G ie GPRS, not EDGE. I cant even finish 25MB even in 30Days which comes bundled with Plan Voucher.

    Reply
  • Steve October 7, 2012 2:36 pm, 2:36 PM

    venky :
    @Sahil Shah
    Because my friend bsnl is having 10 years old technology ,I used it for three months ,I mean the three months I had worst mobile experience.

    Same here bsnl is least bothered to upgrade their systems. I was there
    On bsnl network for 1 year.that time I came to know what is the state of bsnl

    Reply
  • venky October 7, 2012 2:04 pm, 2:04 PM

    @Sahil Shah
    Because my friend bsnl is having 10 years old technology ,I used it for three months ,I mean the three months I had worst mobile experience.

    Reply
  • Sahil Shah October 7, 2012 1:51 pm, 1:51 PM

    I am using samsung galaxy and BSNL. From past some days i am not able to connect internet at the very same time using bsnlnet apn. It takes 5 min to 10 min to get a E or 3g icon and sometimes doesnot connect at all. But the net connects within seconds with bsnllive apn. is anyone else facing this issue?? bsnlliveapn is useless as no app can connect to internet other than inbuild internet browser.

    Reply

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