Introduction of 3G in India
International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000), better known as 3G or 3rd Generation, is a family of standards for mobile telecommunications fulfilling specifications by the International Telecommunication Union, which includes UMTS, and CDMA2000 as well as the non-mobile wireless standards DECT and WiMAX.
Compared to 2G and 2.5G services, 3G allows simultaneous use of speech and data services and higher data rates (at least 200 kbit/s peak bit rate to fulfill to IMT-2000 specification). Today’s 3G systems can offer practice of up to 14.0 Mbit/s on the downlink and 5.8 Mbit/s on the uplink.
The bandwidth and location information available to 3G devices gives rise to applications not previously available to mobile phone users. Some of the applications are:
* Mobile TV – a provider redirects a TV channel directly to the subscriber’s phone where it can be watched. * Video on demand – a provider sends a movie to the subscriber’s phone. * Video conferencing – subscribers can see as well as talk to each other. * Tele-medicine – a medical provider monitors or provides advice to the potentially isolated subscriber. * Location-based services – a provider sends localized weather or traffic conditions to the phone, or the phone allows the subscriber to find nearby businesses or friends. In 2010, the 3G and 4G telecom spectrum were auctioned in a highly competitive bidding. The winners were awarded spectrum in September, and Tata Docomo was the first private operator to launch 3G services in India. The government has earned Rs.67719 crore (US$12.32 billion) from the 3G spectrum auction. While the broadband wireless spectrum auction generated a revenue of Rs.38,500 crore (US$7.01 billion), together 3G and BWA auction, the government of India earned a total revenue of over Rs.106,219 crore (US$19.33 billion).
The private companies which participated in the auction were:
▪ Reliance Communications
▪ S Tel
▪ Tata Teleservices
▪ Vodafone Essar (now Vodafone India)
Apart from the above state-owned BSNL and MTNL were also awarded spectrum, although they did not participate in the auction. Both these state-owned operators were given a head start by the government in the 3G space by allotting the required 3G spectrum, on the condition that each would pay an amount which would be equivalent to the highest bid in the respective service areas as and when the 3G auctions took place. BSNL paid the Indian government Rs.10,187 crores for spectrum in all 20 circles it operates in. State-owned MTNL provides 3G services in the other 2 circles – Delhi and Mumbai.
The auction took place over 34 days and consisted of 183 rounds of bidding.
The most expensive telecom circle was Delhi at a price of Rs.3316.94 crore per operator. The five most expensive circles were Delhi, Mumbai, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. They accounted for 65.56% of the total bids. Airtel won the bid for 13 circles. Vodafone won it for 9 circles and Reliance could grab their hands on 13 circles too.
With 3G literally exploding all over the country, picking the right plan can be a little harder than it looks. This is especially true since we have to deal with a plethora of service providers and their in-your-face-ads. Airtel, Vodafone, BSNL (MTNL), Idea et al have come up with a massive range of plans to ‘help’ us consumers, but it can be quite a confusing task to keep up with the latest plans, top ups and rates. Off late, the prices have dropped quite substantially making 3G a more affordable option. 4G is slowly making a headway into India, after a hopeful start with first Kolkata and then Bengaluru, recently. With 4G slowly coming into existence, the latest plans across various mobile operators have taken a huge cut, making them only beneficial for us, consumers. While it may be some time before the entire nation is dotted by 4G services, 3G continues to grab headlines and more so now, after a slew of telcos have slashed 3G tariffs throughout the country. With this project we try to study the popularity of four major 3G providers in India and do a detail analysis of their strategies based on 4P analysis.
Bharti Airtel Limited, commonly known as Airtel, is an Indian telecommunications services company headquartered at New Delhi, India. It operates in 20 countries across South Asia, Africa and the Channel Islands. Airtel has GSM network in all countries, providing2G, 3G and 4G services depending upon the country of operation. Airtel is the world’s third largest mobile telecommunications company with over 261 million subscribers across 20 countries as of August 2012. It is the largest cellular service provider in India, with 185.92 million subscribers as of September 2012.Airtel is the third largest in-country mobile operator by subscriber base, behind China Mobile and China Unicom.
Airtel is the largest provider of mobile telephony and second largest provider of fixed telephony in India, and is also a provider of broadband and subscription television services. It offers its telecom services under the airtel brand, and is headed by Sunil Bharti Mittal. Bharti Airtel is the first Indian telecom service provider to achieve Cisco Gold Certification. It also acts as a carrier for national and international long distance communication services. The company has a submarine cable landing station at Chennai, which connects the submarine cable connecting Chennai and Singapore.
On May 18, 2010, 3G spectrum auction was completed and Airtel will have to pay the Indian government Rs.122.95 billion (US$2.24 billion) for spectrum in 13 circles, the most amount spent by an operator in this auction. Airtel won 3G licences in 13 telecom circles of India: Delhi, Mumbai, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh (East), Rajasthan, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, North East, and Jammu & Kashmir. Airtel also operates 3G services in Maharastra, Goa, Kanpur and Kolkata through an agreement with Vodafone and in Gujarat through an agreement with Idea. This gives Airtel a 3G presence in 15 out of 22 circles in India.
On September 20, 2010, Bharti Airtel said that it has given contracts to Ericsson India, Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) and Huawei Technologies to set up infrastructure for providing 3G services in the country. These vendors will plan, design, deploy and maintain 3G–HSPA (third generation, high speed packet access) networks in 13 telecom circles where the company has won 3G licences. While Bharti Airtel has awarded network contracts for seven 3G circles to Ericsson India, NSN would manage networks in three circles. Chinese telecom equipment vendor Huawei Technologies has been introduced as the third partner for three circles.
On January 24, 2011, Airtel launched 3G services in Bangalore, Karnataka—its largest circle by revenue. With this launch, Airtel became the third private operator (fifth overall) to launch its 3G services in the country following Reliance Communications and Tata Docomo. On January 27, 2011, Airtel launched 3G in Chennai and Coimbatore. On July 27, 2011 Airtel launched 3G in three major cities in Kerala (Trivandrum, Cochin and Calicut).
About Airtel 3G Data Card
The Airtel 3G Data Card will be currently used for wireless Internet access over Airtel 3G GSM services across India. The Airtel 3G data card is Plug and Play device .It supports EDGE/GPRS and UMTS/HSDPA up to 7.2 Mbps speed and is compatible with Windows / MAC .
Following are the types of data card available
Airtel 3G Data Card (E153) – 3.6Mbps
• Model : Huawei E153
• Speed HSDPA up to 3.6Mbps
• Network customized simlock to airtel network, plug n play
• Chipset qualcomm MSM6246
• Radio for 3G HSDPA/UMTS 2100 MHz, receive diversity
• also compatible with EDGE/GPRS/GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
• GSM/CDMA GSM/WCDMA
• Size 70mmx27mmx12mm
• Messaging yes
• VID/PID 12D1/140C
• MicroSD support yes (up to 32GB)
• Antenna inbuilt antenna
• OS windows 2000 SP4,windows XP SP2/SP3, windows vista SP1/SP2, windows 7 Mac OSx10.4, 10.5 & 10.6 with latest upgrades • USB 2.0 HS
Airtel 3G Data Card (E1731) – 7.2Mbps
• Model : Huawei E1731
• Speed HSDPA up to 7.2Mbps (download) , up to HSUPA 5.76Mbps (upload) • Network customized simlock to airtel network, plug n play • Chipset qualcomm
• Radio for 3G HSDPA/UMTS 2100 MHz, receive diversity
• also compatible with EDGE/GPRS/GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz /
• GSM/CDMA GSM/WCDMA
• Size 71mmx26mmx12.5mm
• Messaging yes
• VID/PID 12D1/140C
• MicroSD Support yes (up to 32GB)
• Antenna Inbuilt antenna
• OS windows 2000 SP4,windows XP SP2/SP3, windows vista SP1/SP2, windows 7 mac OSx10.4, 10.5 & 10.6 with latest upgrades • USB 2.0 HS
4Ps of Airtel 3G Data Card
Product – Airtel provides a choice of two cards:
• Airtel 3G USB Modem 7.2 Mbps – 1800 Rs.
• Airtel 3G USB Modem 3.6 Mbps – 1500 Rs.
The performance of the data card is mostly good. The network strength for Airtel is excellent and the customer support can rated as good. The device also has excellent roaming capabilities with BSNL 3G network available pan India(except Delhi/Mumbai) Place – It provides 3G data services in Delhi, Mumbai, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh (East), Rajasthan, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, North East, and Jammu & Kashmir. Airtel also operates 3G services in Maharastra, Goa, Kanpur and Kolkata through an agreement with Vodafone and in Gujarat through an agreement with Idea. This gives Airtel a 3G presence in 15 out of 22 circles in India. The data cards are available at airtel stores ,the information of which is available on its official website. Store locator link is available on www.airtel.in. Airtel also provides an option to directly call on toll free number and order for a 3G data card, request for data card can also be raised through email. Price –The Company has given a wide range of choices to its 3G data card consumers in the postpaid category. The various plans available are:
Promotion – The company primarily employs the print media for the promotion of its data cards which is mainly done through newspapers and magazines. And the TV commercials that Airtel make mostly concentrate on its 3G services on mobile phones, but because of its huge brand name, it clearly enjoys the advantage for its data card services. It also has an excellent customer care service which adds to its promotional value. Because of it excellent customer care service, they clearly get word of mouth marketing from its customers thus popularizing the product.
Vodafone India, formerly Vodafone Essar and Hutchison Essar, is the second largest mobile network operator in India after Airtel. It is based in Mumbai, Maharashtra and which operates nationally. It has approximately 146.84 million customers as of November 2011.
On July 2011, Vodafone Group agreed terms for the buy-out of its partner Essar from its Indian mobile phone business. The UK firm paid $5.46 billion to its Indian counterpart to take Essar out of its 33% stake in the Indian subsidiary. It will leave Vodafone owning 74% of the Indian business, while the other 26% will be owned by Indian investors, in compliance with Indian law. On 11 February, 2007, Vodafone agreed to acquire the controlling interest of 67% held by Li Ka Shing Holdings in Hutch-Essar for US$11.1 billion, pipping Reliance Communications, Hinduja Group, and Essar Group, which is the owner of the remaining 33%. The whole company was valued at USD 18.8 billion. The transaction closed on 8 May, 2007. It offers both prepaid and postpaid GSM cellular phone coverage throughout India with good presence in the metros.
Vodafone India provides 2.75G services based on 900 MHz and 1800 MHz digital GSM technology. Vodafone India launched 3Gservices in the country in the January-March quarter of 2011 and plans to spend up to $500 million within two years on its 3G networks.
On 19 May 2010, the 3G spectrum auction in India ended. Vodafone paid Rs.11617.86 million (the second highest amount in the auctions) for spectrum in 10 circles. The circles it will provide 3G in are Delhi, Kanpur, Gujarat, Haryana, Kolkata, Maharashtra & Goa, Mumbai, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh (East) and West Bengal. Vodafone also operates 3G services in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh (West) through an agreement with Idea and in Karnataka through an agreement with Airtel. This gives Vodafone a 3G presence in 13 out of 22 circles in India.
On 16 March, 2011, Vodafone launched 3G services in Uttar Pradesh (East) in the city of Lucknow. Vodafone had already launched limited 3G services in Chennai and Delhi earlier, but the Uttar Pradesh (East) launch counts as its first fully commercial launch. This makes Vodafone the fifth private operator (seventh overall) to launch its 3G services in the country following Tata Docomo, Reliance Communications, Airtel and Aircel.
On 23rd June, 2011 Vodafone launched 3G service in Kerala by joining with Idea in an Intra Circle Roaming agreement. Initially Vodafone 3G services will be available in the following cities in Kerala – Ernakulam, Aluva, Calicut, Koyilandy, Alappuzha, Cherthala, Malappuram and Manjeri. On 28 June 2012, Vodafone launched a new international roaming package under which the users shall have not to pay multiple rentals in the countries they are visiting.
About Vodafone 3G Data Card
The Vodafone 3G Data Card will be currently used for wireless Internet access over Vodafone 3G GSM services across India. The Vodafone 3G data card is Plug and Play device .It supports EDGE/GPRS and UMTS/HSDPA up to 7.2 Mbps speed and is compatible with Windows / MAC .
Following are the types of data card available
• 21 Mbps Vodafone USB Stick
• 7.2 Mbps Vodafone USB Stick
• 3.6 Mbps Vodafone USB Stick
4Ps of Vodafone 3G Data Card
Product – Vodafone provides a choice of three cards:
• 21 Mbps Vodafone USB Stick – Rs. 4000
• 7.2 Mbps Vodafone USB Stick – Rs.1550
• 3.6 Mbps Vodafone USB Stick – Rs.1500
The performance of the data card is mostly good. The network strength for Vodafone is good and the customer support can rated as good.
Place – It provides 3G data services in Gujarat, Haryana, Kolkata, Maharashtra & Goa, Mumbai , Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh (East) and West Bengal. Vodafone also operates 3G services in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh (West) through an agreement with Idea and in Karnataka through an agreement with Airtel.. This gives Vodafone a 3G presence in 13 out of 22 circles in India. The data cards are available at vodafone stores, the information of which is available on its official website. Store locator link is available on https://live.mapmyindia.com/v3glocator/. Vodafone also provides an option to directly call on toll free number and order for a 3G data card, request for data card can also be raised through email. Price –The Company has given a wide range of choices to its 3G data card consumers in the postpaid category.
Promotion – The promotional activities via TV commercials are the best for Vodafone. They have used the concept of “Zoo-zoo” for all their advertisements. The launch of 3G was also promoted with a very innovative commercial. It also promotes itself using various other print media advertisements and hoardings. BSNL
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (abbreviated BSNL) is an Indian state-owned telecommunications company headquartered in New Delhi, India. It is the largest provider of fixed telephony and fourth largest mobile telephony provider in India, and is also a provider of broadband services. However, in recent years the company’s revenue and market share plunged into heavy losses due to intense competition in Indian telecommunications sector.
BSNL is India’s oldest and largest communication service provider (CSP). It had a customer base of 95 million as of June 2011. It has footprints throughout India except for the metropolitan cities of Mumbai and New Delhi, which are managed by Mahanagar Telephone Nigam (MTNL). BSNL is divided into a number of administrative units termed as telecom circles, metro districts, project circles and specialized units. It has 24 telecom circles, 2 metro districts, 6 project circles, 4 maintenance regions, 5 telecom factories, 3 training institutions and 4 specialized telecom units 3G Coverage:
While it did not participate in the 3G auction, BSNL paid the Indian government Rs. 10,187 crores for 3G spectrum in all 20 circles it operates in. State-owned MTNL provides 3G services in the other 2 circles – Delhi and Mumbai. Both these state-owned operators were given a head start by the government in the 3G space by allotting the required 3G spectrum, on the condition that each will have to pay an amount which will be equivalent to the highest bid in the respective service areas as and when the 3G auctions take place.
BSNL has the largest 3G network in India. Additionally, BSNL 3G services usually cover not only the main town/city but also the adjoining suburbs and rural areas as well. As of now BSNL has 3G services in 826 cities across India.
About BSNL 3G Data Card
It is a device which provides wireless broadband connection to laptops and desktops. The speed of connectivity is up to 7.2 Mbps. There is no complicated installation system-just Plug & Play. The device is capable of providing fast uploads at a speed up to 1.8Mbps.It has great roaming capabilities with a flawless network in more than 800 cities. It also provides the consumers the freedom from the messy wires and can be used while on move between office and home etc. It provides seamless connectivity over 3G and 2G networks and thus continues to work even at places where 3G services are not available. There are mainly two types of 3G data cards available:
1) USB Type
2) PCMCIA Type (though not so popular)
It provides a great ease of use. All one has to do is plug in the 3G data card into the laptop and get the fastest available connection with speeds comparable to the speed of broadband. Its simple and the compact design makes it very easy to swap it between laptops and desktops for use at work. 4Ps of BSNL 3G Data Card
Product – BSNL provides a choice of three cards:
• 3.6 Mbps USB Data Card: Rs. 1600
• 7.2 Mbps USB Data Card: Rs. 2000
• 14.4 Mbps USB Data Card: Rs. 2500
The performance of the data card is mostly good, with a good network strength and fair enough customer support. The device also has excellent roaming capabilities with BSNL 3G network available pan India(except Delhi/Mumbai) Place –Excellent Distribution Network across all the major cities. The company uses its existing network of customer service centres (CSC’s) in all the major cities to sell the data cards. The cities where CSC’s are not available, the data cards can be obtained from the service point of contacts (SPOC’s) in the telephone exchanges. The data cards are also sold through BSNL Shoppes (Franchisee outlets) and other retail outlets. Besides this a few years back the company has started its own sales and marketing wing under Project Udaan (http://udaan.bsnl.co.in). This provides the consumers the option to directly register their requests through the website and get the data card delivery at their doorsteps by the BSNL sales associates. Price –The Company has given a wide range of choices to its 3G data card consumers in the postpaid category. The various plans available are: |Data Usage (in MB) |Billed Amount(in Rs.)
Promotion – The company primarily employs the print media for the promotion of its data cards which is mainly done through newspapers and magazines. It has not yet used the TV commercials for this purpose. Brand Ambassadors (like Deepika Padukone and Abhinav Bindra) have earlier been appointed to have the maximum connect with the target audience. It also uses the company official website for various Ad campaigns on the data cards especially during the festive seasons.
About Reliance Communications
Reliance Communications Ltd. (commonly called RCOM) is an Indian broadband and telecommunications company headquartered in Navi Mumbai, India. RCOM is the world’s 15th largest mobile phone operator with over 150 million subscribers and India’s 2nd largest telecom operator in India, only after Bharti Airtel. Established on 2004, a subsidiary of the Reliance Group. The company has five segments: Wireless segment includes wireless operations of the company; broadband segment includes broadband operations of the company; Global segment include national long distance and international long distance operations of the company and the wholesale operations of its subsidiaries; Investment segment includes investment activities of the Group companies, and Other segment consists of the customer care activities and direct-to-home (DTH) activities.
It ranks among the top 5 telecommunications companies in the world by number of customers in a single country. Reliance Communications corporate clientele includes 2,100 Indian and multinational corporations, and over 800 global, regional and domestic carriers. The company has established a pan-India, next-generation, integrated (wireless and wireline), convergent (voice, data and video) digital network that is capable of supporting services spanning the entire communications value chain, covering over 24,000 towns and 600,000 villages. Reliance Communications owns and operates the next-generation IP-enabled connectivity infrastructure, comprising over 190,000 kilometers of fiber optic cable systems in India, USA, Europe, Middle East and the Asia Pacific region.
On 19 May 2010, the 3G spectrum auction in India ended. Reliance Communications paid Rs. 5864.29 crores for spectrum in 13 circles. The circles it will provide 3G in are Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Punjab, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Assam, North East, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.
About Reliance 3G Data Card
It is a device which provides wireless broadband connection to laptops and desktops. The speed of connectivity is up to 21.6 Mbps. There is no complicated installation system-just Plug & Play. The device is capable of providing fast uploads at a speed up to 1.8Mbps.It also comes with free national roaming capabilities. It also provides the consumers the freedom from the messy wires and can be used while on move between office and home etc. It provides seamless connectivity over 3G and 2G networks and thus continues to work even at places where 3G services are not available. It also has an in-built Memory Card Slot to make it work like a Pen Drive. The data card comes with a one year warranty and is provided with instant activation facility. Means surfing and downloading can be started as soon as
the data card is received.
4Ps of Reliance 3G Data Card
Product – Reliance Communication provides a choice of two types of 3G data cards: • 7.2 Mbps USB Data Card: Rs. 1399
• 21.6 Mbps USB Data Card: Rs. 1999
The performance of the data card is mostly good, with a good network strength and fair enough customer support. The device also has free national roaming capabilities with Reliance 3G network available in 13 circles.
Place –Good Distribution Network across all the major cities.
The company uses its existing network of Reliance mobile stores or Reliance Worlds in all the major cities to sell the data cards.
The consumers can register their requests through the website (http://www.reliance3g-netconnect.com) or can also call on a toll free number. The company seems to have an efficient sales and distribution network and claims to furnish the data cards to its consumers at their doorstep in a time as low as two hours.
Besides the above data plans, Reliance 3G data cards have some unique price features: • The plan automatically adapts to the usage pattern & charges the lowest bill amount for the data used. • Max bill capped at Rs 1250+ tax. No shocks when you receive your bills. • 6000 MB data usage at speeds upto 21Mbps before throttling the speed to 64 Kbps
Promotion – The company primarily employs the print media for the promotion of its data cards which is mainly done through newspapers and magazines. It has also launched a TV commercial for this purpose. It also uses the company official website for various Ad campaigns on the data cards .The company also comes up with the announcement of free goodies in the form of branded wrist watches, etc on the sale of the 3G data cards in order to allure its customers and grab their share of mind and heart.
Survey & Analysis
Objective of the Study
• To find out the factors that influence the consumer’s decision to buy Airtel 3G Data Cards • To analyze the performance of Airtel 3G data cards on various parameters with its competitors like Vodafone, BSNL and Reliance Communications
Selection of Sample Size:
For the study, a sample size of 30 consumers (existing or past) has been taken into consideration for each of the four operators i.e. Airtel, Vodafone, BSNL and Reliance Communications.
Sources of Data Collection:
Research is based on two sources:
1) Primary Data:
Primary data was collected by preparing a questionnaire and the people were randomly requested to fill them. The survey questionnaire can be viewed at
Data was collected in total for 120 respondents (30 for each of the four operators) who were the existing or past users of 3G data cards.
2) Secondary Data:
Secondary data consisted of different articles available on the internet on various websites.
Statistical Tools Used
The main statistical tools used for the collection and analyses of data in this project are: • Questionnaire
• Bar Diagrams
• Pie Charts
• It is assumed that the chosen sample is the representation of whole population.
• It is assumed that information provided by the samples is accurate and to the best of their knowledge and experience.
Results & Findings
The results and the findings for the survey are separately enclosed as appendix 1.
The conclusions that can be drawn from the survey are listed below:
1) Airtel seems to be the Market Leader in the 3G data card market. From the survey it is clearly visible that Airtel 3G data card has topped the consumer choices in terms of data card service, Speed, Network quality, customer care services and overall satisfaction. These are seemingly its points of difference (POD’s) which have provided it the competitive advantage.
2) From the survey it gets evident that Airtel has Vodafone as its Challenger in the 3G data card market. Vodafone 3G data cards come second in terms of consumer choices on most of the parameters. Vodafone also comes first in categories like Range of Tariff plans available and Promotions.
3) In spite of being rated third in terms of value for money Airtel has still been rated the best in terms of overall satisfaction which shows that the brand is a market leader despite charging the premium prices. It thus seems that the company enjoys the greatest share of mind and share of heart among its consumers which has ultimately given it an advantage in capturing market share.
The recommendations that we would like to give on the basis of our survey are :
1)Airtel can bring about wider range of tariff plans to give a wider variety of choices to its 3G data card users like its competitors like Vodafone and BSNL have done.
2)Airtel needs to pursue better advertising by launching Television Commercials like Vodafone and Reliance, to maintain its market leader status and prevent Challengers like Vodafone, BSNL and Reliance Communications from taking over.
3)Airtel although seems to maintain a premium status in terms of its tariff plans but it can also opt for Product line extension by launching promotion offers like limited period low cost tariffs to create value for money for the customers and to bring about a Point of Parity with its competitors on this parameter.