We conducted a field survey in Bangalore City to ascertain consumer and channel partner behavior post 3G launch. The main aim of this study was to find if there is any shift from CDMA 1x data to 3G ?
CDMA operators’ EVDO offerings – Tata Photon+, Reliance NetConnect Broadband+, BSNL EVDO, MTS MBlaze gave the power of super fast internet for executives and people on the move. We are not witnessing any shift to 3G technology from CDMA 1x technology, as users prefer unlimited data usage plans which are not available in 3G yet. Also, 3G dongle/modems are priced at CDMA 1x price points without any articulation of extra benefits to compensate for switching cost. Coverage of 3G is limited to handful of Cities while Reliance NetConnect and Tata Photon+ together have introduced services in more than 300 cities and towns thus providing seamless broadband experience.
All 3G spectrum auction winners have launched 3G services in one or more telecom circles but services availability is limited to few cities in a circle. Our interaction with retailers/distributors suggest aggressive marketing for 3G is yet to start. Though most of telecom operators have started TV commercials on 3G but most retailers/vendors were not able to articulate 3G value proposition. Initial focus of telecom operators is on driving trial and experiential awareness via exclusive “kiosks” and service activation for limited-period/usage.
For now, users are likely to stay with CDMA based EVDO offering for Internet and it needs to be seen how the industry shapes after the introduction of LTE. Well, we need really fat fibers at the back-end to carry data from so many different technologies.