3G uptake slowed due to bill shock: Vodafone

Vodafone admits bills shock to subscribers is hampering the uptake of 3G services in the Indian mobile market. bill shock Viswanathan Ramaswamy, senior vice president – technology, strategy and architecture of Vodafone India, said operators are working upon a strategy to fight back the issue of suspicious bills. He added further, “Operators have to provide lots of reports and notices so that the customer can avoid the bill shock. And for most of the operators these kinds of implementations are still underway. We are also in the process of implementing this.” This is the first time any operator is admitting suspicious bills being one of the reasons in slowing the 3G uptake in the country. After the drop in 3G tariffs, their subscriber have gone up but not to the expectation level, says Ramaswamy. Aircel has addressed the bill shock issue by converting all their 3G data plans to unlimited with speed drop after certain usage. To address bill issue Tata CDMA and Reliance has also dropped down their rates for few unbundled plans to as low as 30-40 paisa per MB. Idea Cellular, Vodafone and Airtel are still offering unbundled plans that cost users Rs 3 per MB, which is totaled to over Rs 3,000 for 1GB of usage. In a bundled plan by other operators 1GB of 3G data cost around Rs 250 only. If Indian telecom operators are serious about addressing the bill shock issue, price drop is a must on unbundled usage. Is it the right time for operators to offer 3G services at the price of 2G to increase subscribers and add steps to the developing India? Do put your views.

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