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Telecom: MNP and Spam Curtailing


Two interesting things are happening in the Telecom world.

Mobile Number Portability

Starting Jan 20, you’ll be able to change your cellphone service provider without changing your number. Wow, you think. Everyone will move away from Airtel? But to whom? Like in Political Parties and developed market currencies, you have to choose the lesser evil. The one eyed man in the kingdom of the blind. The apple that’s not yet completely rotten…you get the picture. On a personal note, I might give the newer players a shot, but after seeing what kind of pain is involved in the transition.

Reduced Mobile Spam

Yeah, we hate it. But telemarketers have loved it, and VAS companies thrived because of it. Now it’s going to be a dead zone. Come Feb 1, you can choose to not get those annoying SMSes, and if you still do, everyone responsible gets on the firing line. Complaints cause serious monetary damage and threaten the business itself.

(Read: New TRAI Rules: Switch the SMS Spam OFF)

My thought: VAS companies are screwed. Even if they aren’t implicated for rogue SMSes, the business will hurt. Watch as the IPOs roll out.

Mobile companies derive a lot of revenues – sometimes as much as the VAS companies – from SMS spam. But most of that seems to come from Tata Indicom, from my personal experience, and it seems Airtel’s been going off that bandwagon for a while.

The MNP pieces will screw Airtel and Vodafone, but not this quarter – if the concept succeeds then it will benefit the newer players; Airtel has slightly better chances because of the Zain play in Africa. RCOM is CDMA mostly, and thus locks in users anyhow, but they have bigger problems than MNP, in the way of having their big chief’s name as Anil Ambani. (Kidding. It just seems like that nowadays)


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