Indian Telecom Sector Non-Focus Towards Consumer Awareness- May Hurt Business Prospects

Indian Telecom sector is facing tough time for the last 3 years and is expected to experience reduced level of tough business environment. Telecom service providers blamed regulatory un-certainty for tough business environment and lack of product adoption by Mobile Subscribers but that is partially correct. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and Department of Telecommunication (DoT) India must be appreciated for coming out with mobile subscriber centric and supportive regulation such as Mobile Number Portability (MNP), Mobile Value Added Services (MVAS) and its amendment, Roaming and many more.

Indian regulator were forced to take such a drastic move as mentioned above post multiple and continuous reporting from media and mobile subscribers of unwarranted activation of services, billing and lack of customer support. Regulators moves were focused to bring in competitiveness among Mobile Service Providers and thus to bring back focus on service or network Quality of Service in order to retain or acquire new mobile subscriber. The current Telecom environment and its competitiveness are closely knitted with services or products which are influenced by enforced regulatory to the maximum level.
It raises a simple query that
  • How many Mobile Subscribers are aware about their rights?
  • How many of Mobile Subscribers are aware about the process of activate or deactivate any VAS services?
  • How many Mobile Subscribers are aware about the process to escalate Unsolicitated commercial communications violating their privacy?
  • How many Mobile Subscribers are aware about process to escalate billing related concerns to their service providers as well as to regulators?
Based on survey (1500 Mobile Subscribers), the results were shocking as less than 1% were aware of process and generic answer were that we try to get it resolve through customer care and being charged for the same.

Somehow, Somewhere Mobile Service Providers are still missing the link of getting connected directly with Mobile users. Mobile Service Providers analyzed any product or service or application adoptions based on the said offerings activation factor but they must realize that it is difficult to analyze a particular product success when multiple products are hosted and mobile users are not aware.

In most of the new product launch, 6 are going for broadcast messaging to all active MVAS user base or print media such as newspapers or TV advertisement. Mobile Service Providers at an average spend around 5% of their total revenue in ad spend but at the same time they failed to create an awareness among mobile subscribers which focuses on mobile subscriber rights. Different Mobile Service Providers are offering multiple toll free numbers as well as message formats to retrieve automated information for mobile subscribers. Most of the Mobile subscribers don’t remember those toll free numbers or finds it hard to replicate the message format to retrieve information but are forced to rely on Customer Care.

Isn’t it true that, there is “NO” print media or TV communications from Mobile Service Providers creating awareness about mobile subscribers daily Telecom related problem such as product performance, activation /deactivation request, and billing issue. Mobile Service Providers argue that they are running customer care (CC) and also advertise their customer care number through multiple medium. It raises another query around consumer awareness through print media, campaign management and TV advertisement for above mentioned issue. How many times, any mobile subscribers have seen any print media awareness program regarding MVAS, MNP, Roaming and Billing?

The Subscriber feels helpless post continuous attempt to launch simple complaint. It triggered negative response from subscriber to subscribe or renew new mobile value added services such as music, ringtone, Infotainment post double consent enforcement under MVAS regulation amendment. Under double consent regime, service providers must take mobile subscriber consent before charging subscriber for any services or products. The recent drastic fall in MVAS activation and exponential rise in MVAS deactivation is nothing but early warning system. The telecom ecosystem players must realize that it’s not regulation but lack of offered value attached with offered value added service or lack of awareness about offered services or products.

Indian Mobile Service Providers do not have an alternative but to improve on consumer awareness program without fearing that awareness is going to create an environment where mobile subscribers will be deactivating already running services or product but instead of that it will attract many new mobile subscribers to adopt existing or new services.

The further delay in adopting proactive approach towards Mobile subscriber awareness program by Mobile Service Provider will have cascading impact on Telecom ecosystem players. They would be rest assured that in any circumstance their concerns would be resolved on the fly and that is going to trigger higher adoption of new or existing services or products.

In my point of view, the current state of Indian Telecom Sector offer highest level of opportunities for innovative proposition to bring back rapid eroding value added subscriber base.

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Visionary Leader with 22 years of multi-functional experience - combine astute tactical, strategic, business, technology and industry skills in ICT domain at domestic and international level (Wired/Wireless/ networks /platforms/ connected device) .... More

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