Aircel says lack of ecosystem including mobile VAS impacts 3G growth

Telecom Lead India: Anupam Vasudev, chief marketing officer, Aircel, says lack of a strong 3G ecosystem including content has impacted 3G growth in the country.

Aircel, the seventh largest mobile service provider, has 7.14 percent market share in India’s mobile market.

Though Aircel is known for innovative marketing strategies and cost effective schemes, the company is behind Airtel that has market share of 21.35 percent, Vodafone (17.12 percent), Reliance Communications (13.71 percent), Idea Cellular (13.49 percent), BSNL (11.62 percent) and Tata Teleservices (7.85 percent), as per TRAI’s data for January 2013.

Aircel chief marketing officer Anupam Vasudev says only 6 per cent of mobile users are using 3G services. Its usage is heavily underutilised. It is way off than what we wanted it to be. In Tamil Nadu, only 6-7 cities have a 3G network.

Mobile subscribers are interested only in social networks or chats, but not interested in video downloads or shopping. It is not about the price of the handset but about an ecosystem, including content, not available for better penetration, he said.

Out of the total 23 circles that Aircel has licences for, the Maxis-owned mobile operator will focus on its 18 key circles.

“Costs for consumers have been declining year-on-year for the last 10 years, and there is nothing left to reduce further. The service is almost free. Today, users pay charges as low as 4 or 5 paisa per minute. We are operating at a cost level,” he added.

Business Line reported that Aircel’s 4G network rollout will be delayed as a network which includes content providers, is not there yet.

While the 3G service itself has not picked up as expected, the rollout of 4G will be delayed.

Aircel added 0.5-0.6 per cent market share last year to reach 5.1 per cent at an all-India level. In Tamil Nadu, where it is deeply entrenched, the telecom operator has a 20 percent market share.

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