Sunday, December 06, 2009

Self Destruction

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

The value of our common language and statehood seem to go into hibernation when politicians hack into the fabric of Andhra Pradesh in the name of individual district or regional rights. Andhra Pradesh has fostered a well positioned growth over the last 15 years or so, and continues to develop into one of the foremost investment destinations in India.

The last 4 elected governments 2 with YSR, and 2 before that with CBN, did quite well for the City of Hyderabad first, and then with YSR for the state. The untimely death of YSR, has really brought out the worst in the political parties, and in just a couple of months, the state has been thrown into chaos.

There is no easy solution to dividing the state, and its people. For decades they are one fabric. Albeit identified as 3 major regions in the state, they are one people and one language, bonded together with culture, tradition, customs, marriage, settlements and work, along with the capital city.

There is no reason for destruction of property; both public and private, and killings. No politician has died in this politically driven idea of separation. Each of the three regions of the state has their own gripes, and justification for agitation to bring more state and central resources.

A student destroying public and private property is simply no way to gain self sustaining states. The drama of politicians pretending to fast on to death is simply a drama, and not reality. The same politician had many years to demonstrate the will to negotiate the demands of the region, but failed with each successive year, and has minimal electorate support before resorting to a fast unto death, which did not last for 2 days, while enticing the public to start self molestation and destruction. There is absolutely no reason to support the movement as a political movement, but if real can be a student led process to demonstrate and establish credibility for separation of regions of the state, with proper commercial and regulated division, without discounting all the realities of separation.

We are poor and middle-class with a sprinkling of rich people in the state and country, and with all politicians cunning and scheming to be in power, and in press and make hay. In the democratic India we should respect the sensitivity of our fellow citizens and not politicians. By destroying property of our own we simply pave way for poorer infrastructure, and not a better state, be it a divided or together Andhra Pradesh.

Children, women, students, workers and everyone lost valuable resources for the past few days while there is shutdown and destruction. With each day lost in school no student will benefit, and with each day lost at work the state and its people lose. Go back to school and work, and don’t destroy the infrastructure and other people’s property. If there is legitimate demand for separation, elect politicians that will peacefully and purposefully achieve the separation, and all with keeping the best interest of the people at heart, and not politics.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Oblivious To Scandal

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

You don’t need much to make a mess out of a good thing. As the old saying goes one bad apple spoils the whole bushel. The glory of surpassing the 500 million connections was superseded by the allegations of the largest telecom scam that ever suspected in the telecom world. While the delays in 3 G spectrum negotiations continue between the military and DOT, a new date has been announced along with a new fee structure.

The telecom minister seems unperturbed with alleged scam that totals a loss of 20,000 to 60,000 to Indian coffers. When the CBI raided the telecom ministry and DOT, followed by a number of locations across the country, there was no surprise element to the public. For several years there was suspicion of wrongdoing, specially supported by the new licensees generating exorbitant valuations, and actually getting paid for it from foreign telecom companies. These multiples (in billions of dollars) were generated without a network or subscribers. This doesn’t happen often with any industry especially with telecom. The opportunity for multiple transactions in billions of profits to the license holders was simply afforded because of the way the licenses were awarded, and at the cost at which they were purchased. If you value the license today, the losses (already extraordinary) will be humongous. Even the foreign telecoms that paid a huge premium (just for the license, without the network or customers) have already gained in value and should be quite happy with the price they paid for purchasing stakes into the licenses awarded at dirt cheap prices. They won’t be at risk of losing the licenses as they are not a party to the alleged scandal as they paid a premium on a cheap license. If properly valued much of these companies might never have been in a position to participate, and if they did they would have paid full price for what they purchased.

Arbitrary decision my the minister to change the dates for accepting the applications, processing them at will with no regard to the work that went into applying for the license, and then getting thrown out without cause was further fuel to suspicion of scandal. It is highly unlikely that any other country would have even envisioned such decision making.

Hording of spectrum by the early leaders might have prompted them to remain quiet when the spectrum was given away at prices that were set at least 6 years ago. You don’t hear any word of objection from the telecom operators now, or when the licenses were given away at cheap prices. The operators, manufacturers, support infrastructure, business and industry leaders and everyone else who was involved with the telecom industry did not protest this, except the few who were arbitrarily rejected with a cut off date that was changed to meet the convenience of the minister, or his department and no reasons for such decision.

The government continues to support the telecom minister and will continue to do so due to political issues that will crop up if they take a stance against him. The very fact that he is still in his job is extraordinary. In such sensitive position dealing with global telecom issues, and with CBI raiding his offices should have prompted him to get out. But it seems he and the sitting government is oblivious to scandal and don’t seem to care about at least showing serious intent to get to the bottom of this.

The irony is that the minister was reappointed after new elections, under a cloud of suspicion. The center could have acted wisely to appoint someone else when the cabinet was being reshuffled and reappointed. There could have been saving grace if there was a probe after the minister was no longer in charge of telecom, and the sleuths could have had an easier time with access to information on the scandal.

Such extra ordinary money can not just disappear and the very fact that CBI raided and garnered enough information to continue the investigation lends credence to the allegations. Telecom minister being a member of the sitting government and claiming to have followed the law and guidelines set for awarding the license and the senior leaders supporting his innocence to any irregularities that have scandalized his department while continuing CBI probe lends one to believe things are not kosher with what was suspicious activity to begin with.

There is a problem with what happened and perhaps the public will never realize the magnitude of the losses to the center. Each of the spectrum related sale opportunity is a blessing to any government, and India squandered one of the greatest assets it had with this particular opportunity. While the general public suffers and government borrows money to support programs, such a large amount money disappearing is truly scandalous. Even if no one benefitted personally, this is a case and point that should never happen, and allowing it to happen is a disgrace. And now that CBI is investigating a minister and his department while they are the ruling government, and the minister and the government claiming innocence is a further disgrace to commonsense. Be it with intent or without, such national loss should be accounted for with appropriate action and should be made sure that it never happens.

November 7th 2009
Vasu Reddy
President
Optus Technologies, Inc.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Planning For Global Expansion

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

Three times it happened with the same company, twice by Bharti and once by Reliance Communications. Trying to merge with MTN of South Africa in the last year by the biggest telecom companies in India came up with nothing. It is interesting to note Bharti did this twice, despite their fantastic organizational setup. If we do acknowledge that Reliance failing to close the MTN tie-up has something to do with the big brother syndrome, it is surprising that Bharti will do it twice with the same result.

There could be a slew of reasons for the failure in negotiations, including respective laws, regulations, unions, shareholder issues, accounting, markets, and whatever else imaginable. But trying to do it 3 times in a year is a bit too much. MTN offers a nice relationship to the Indian telecoms with its own emerging markets to add to India’s own aggressive expansion of its mobile markets. But it really is not the only available opportunity.

When the negotiations fail the blame goes to the local laws of the negotiating countries. It is appalling to believe that the management teams ignored these laws when they contemplate the mergers. If they ignored the complexity of laws prior to beginning negotiations, the management teams simply failed to appreciate the real issue of compliance.

India’s own policies have never been too inviting and still have a lot to be desired by the global markets. But, so is every other market. Each country has its own set of complications that come with the inviting nature of the market. Seldom have the international market’s desire to expand and the individual country’s laws matched, rather the business development teams make the path to expansion with understanding, persistence and effort. Simply desiring to patch vast networks without clear guidance from the possibility will be Alexandrian in effort and individual companies may not have the sustainability to successfully expand their networks.

Just focus on emerging markets is not a visionary option. Public companies want to deliver shareholder value, and not just numbers. Western markets and already saturated markets deliver much higher yield then emerging markets. The expansion models to simply focus on emerging markets also comes with complexity of local laws, market inhibitions and currency and other economic conditions that are not commonplace with the western markets. The rules of engagement are published and no hidden agendas crop-up at the last minute to derail the negotiations. When the rest of the global telecoms are participating in India, the Indian telecoms should make attempts at the same. Why not go after stakes in ATT or BT. Is it the difficulty of negotiating with these companies or it is the complexity of upgrading the vision to a global vision from an emerging markets vision?

Standing up to what is right for the shareholders is the fundamental management principle. It is sort of convoluted in Indian companies as Individuals have fairly large stakes to drive the rest of the shareholders to accept their individual philosophies, rather then what is good for the shareholders. It is not to question the leadership qualities and organizational abilities of these individual leaders. The big Indian telecoms are fostered within the Indian regulations and politics, and all of them have been successful within the boundaries of India. For these companies to become global, they must learn the path of their partners who have successfully acquired stakes in Indian Telecom companies, and manage them well. If the Indian Telecoms are to become global, they need to acquire the skills of their partners who successfully operate in India, and start to acquire stakes in their respective markets and manage them with success.

One of the most interesting aspects of the failure to merge MTN with the Indian Telecom companies is that there is no perspective on why it failed. Typically in such a failure even once would have a complete analysis published for the world to learn on what exactly went wrong, and for the next time aspirants to be cognizant of what not to do. When we fail three times, and still don’t have a detailed analysis of what went wrong, this is probably the forbidden zone. The analysts who cover Bharti, Reliance and MTN should publish detailed analysis of why these mergers never materialized. The shareholders and global telecom markets deserve a detailed analysis on these misconstrued mergers.

It will be wonderful to see the Indian telecoms do what ATT, BT, Singapore Telecom, Vodaphone, Verizon and other global players do. Go after all markets that offer shareholder value along with expansion. There is no reason to just focus on emerging markets, rather focus on growth and expansion. One great strength India has its own NRI population, global reliance on its BPO and maintenance services and India’s software and support services. Going after the big fish is as opportunistic as just chasing emerging markets. It will be nice to see the Indians acquire stakes in ATT or BT.

October 18th 2009
Vasu Reddy
President
Optus Technologies, Inc.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

3 G Opportunity

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

BSNL and MTNL have a great opportunity on hand with 3 G network rollout. Because of their government backing and ownership they have natural advantages that can be immediately translated into huge payoff for both the companies themselves and the government of India.

Although the license fees that can be expected by the government can be in several billions for 3 G auctions, there is an immediate opportunity for both the government to realize the market based opportunity with 3 G networks. A little bit of imagination and a little bit of planning can bring enormous returns along with larger customer base with very high value customers to these networks.

The government owned networks have huge cash reserves and the government itself as the checkbook for never worrying about the network deployment. The is enough capital available for these network to fully rollout the 3 G network and make the highest value services available immediately. When money is not a concern, there is no reason to delay the deployment, and we can list out the multiple benefits that will come with planned 3 G rollout for MTNL and BSNL.

For various reasons the government has delayed auctions 3 G auctions for a number of years, and the past weeks news story claims that the military that holds the spectrum has objections to release the spectrum, which will invariably delay the plan for actually moving forward with the auctions. BSNL and MTNL already with spectrum on hand can move rapidly to deploy the network and the services. They are at least a year or more ahead of the other players with 3 G strategies and specially the available capital makes it a natural monopoly for some time to come.

The market competiveness comes with is deploying network and make services available to the demanding customers. This is a special case of natural monopoly for BSNL and MTNL, as to the delay in the auction is not monopoly by policy but by circumstance. Even a 2 year advantage is a crucial advantage that can be fully exploited to fullest advantage to these two companies.

Government can extend multiple options to customers to entice them to begin using BSNL and MTNL. Imagine the subscribers that are government employees both state and local, politicians that can make a statement by using government owned networks, contractors and other suppliers to both government and the networks themselves, and everyone that can be enticed with great service and uncluttered network.

Some of the largest networks in USA are experiencing quality issues because of the network rollout has been much slower then customer acceptance of the service. Global giants such as ATT have been learning the hard way that having an accepting customer is not good enough when the network will not support the technology that is sold to the customer, and the advances in user needs can only be met with network deployment. Network expansion or upgrades is not an issue for the government owned networks, and they can demonstrate this today. They don’t have the quality issues that the private carriers in India already have (without 3 G) and stressing the quality aspect is not necessary to demonstrate as customers will know this instantly. With number portability the unhappy customers from other networks can migrate without much fuss, and cost. The high value customers are clustered in the metros and for them to switch services or adapt to 3 G is simply a matter of the service being available. If you add the incentives of quality, support, availability and immediate access, then BSNL and MTNL can turn these lethargic and bureaucratic businesses into global leaders.

There is no problem of customer readiness with the Indian Telecom market. It is the greatest opportunity despite a 40% penetration. The high end usage that comes with 3 G networks has a pent-up demand and when introduced to market will satisfy the customers in waiting.

BSNL and MTNL have always had good quality networks compared to the congested private networks. The congestion is a function of the growth and acceptance of the mobile services, and the private networks have not been able to cope with the great demand for expansion. Private networks have to meet the demands of the shareholders along with the network expansion needs and the government owned networks have no such compulsion. This is a time for BSNL and MTNL by changing their existing market perception of not too keen on providing customer service to great customer service organizations by treating a customer as customer, along with providing state of the art services.

The opportunity in telecom market expansion and market valuation is enormous. By taking advantage of the natural monopoly that has been afforded to BSNL and MTNL, along with a little bit of planning will bring huge rewards to government of India, while providing to the immediate needs of the customer. Its funny how is made out of simple tweet comments by a minister of state, but imagine if the same political machine puts it mind to taking advantage of the available market conditions to bring great benefits to the coffers of the government without major policy or political mechanics. The finance ministry can be smiling all the way to the bank for many years to come.

September 20th 2009
Vasu Reddy
President
Optus Technologies, Inc.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Importance of Expansion

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

The last couple of years have been quite speculative for the Indian Telecommunications companies going global. Special references can be made to South Africa’s MTN and Bharti and Reliance trying to merge and create a top 5 global telecom company. The current due diligence and negotiations between Bharti and MTN are their second round in 2 years and still continuing, while Reliance’s tryst with MTN last year ended partially because Reliance’s family matters made it a spectacle in the press, and might have derailed the proposed merger.

India and its regulators and the government should encourage and become conducive to expansion of Indian telecoms into the global networks. Helping with changes with favorable laws and financial processes will bring the expansion plans to reality quickly, and lead to continued growth in telephone density.

Global acquisitions will bring global market understanding into the already robust growth in India’s own internal growth. Every country adapts to its own needs and looks at becoming a market leader in its own space. When you combine two or more market leaders the osmosis of better practices will flow within the merged entities and help in further understanding the market dynamics, and providing benchmarks for learning from each other’s successes.

Management expertise is a definite benefit from any major global merger. It might create tensions in the board room and at the CEO level, but certainly could bring multiple country expertise to middle level management and operations. Cultural and traditional intolerances and biases disappear when teams are merged together and work together.

India already receives about 5 times incoming calls compared to outgoing calls from the country. A mega merger with any international telecom will create an opportunity for greater share of the international long distance revenues with both incoming and outgoing traffic. The operators can start to benefit from both ends of the origination and termination traffic, and also save on costs they might be potentially paying to hand-off calls to others. Another added benefit could be any preferential agreements both the merging partners might have in place can come in handy for the merged network.

India has one of the lowest average revenue per user, and it will continue to be so due to the economic structure of the country. Most nations have a much higher ARPU, and any merger will immediately inflate the overall networks ARPU. A combination of additional revenue opportunities with roaming within the merged network, international long distance, cost savings with the network management and maintenance, services, product purchases, new product introduction and a slew of day to day activities, will certainly enhance the value for shareholders. Economic expansion into off-shoot of telecommunications with call centers, bandwidth management, tower construction and management, accounting and engineering are all aspects of the business that will benefit from huge mergers.

Indian currency today is much easier to convert to other currencies and back compared to previous decades but still is not a freely convertible currency. When we have a vast network of phone companies together and operating in multiple countries, trade and other practices will allow for better currency moderation, and brining the Indian Rupee to a fully convertible status. By no means a single telecom merger with another may not transpire the currency into a convertible status, but certainly will help. It is not just the moment of traffic, combining the network but also combines multiple trade opportunities along with the merger of networks, which in itself helps to further Indian economy into global center stage.

India itself has allowed massive investments into its telecom space from global players and investors and has benefitted greatly with the influx of expertise. Telecom India is one of the three largest providers of employment, taxes and economic output. Time is now for our telecom biggies to acquire or merge with other majors in the world to manage global networks, and start to behave like global managers.

Its one world we live in and it can be integrated with large expansion and acquisitions models and serve greater good than just a profit motive of the shareholders of two or more companies. Cultural, racial and economic barriers can be overcome by properly implemented mega mergers. The global carriers such as Vodaphone and Hutchison have successfully managed global networks while creating great wealth for its shareholders. Aspiring that the Indian telecom companies will achieve such success along with human relationships is not asking too much, rather a simple next step.

August 15th 2009
Vasu Reddy
President
Optus Technologies, Inc.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Familiarity Breeds Actors

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com


In the almost eighty year history of cinema we have cultivated the habit of watching performances from familiar names, especially form male actors. The great names of Akkineni and Nandamuri and Krishna, Shobhan Babu were weekly providers of melodrama and happiness to millions of fans. When these veterans stopped (except Krishna) Chiranjeevi and others entered entertainment scene and have continued to supply us with entertainment. Now we have a host of actors who come into our screens due to their lineage. Cinema continues to be a major pastime for our people even in this age of internet and television, and multiple other newly acquired entertainment venues.

The control of production and distribution channels plays a major role in bringing a movie to the market. Some of the new actors have advantages of their family name which other newcomers don’t have which certainly removes the barriers to entry for a movie hero, irrespective of their talent. The big budget produces and studios have their own homes to look for next generation of actors, and typically fund projects to promote their own kin. With the financial risk that represents each movie it is probably looked as safe to bet on their previous glory and their own family is a better hedge then investing big money into new and unknown talent?

There is no denying the fact that new actors and unfamiliar faces are sometimes successful in the movie business. But the big names dominate the print and media when they deliver even moderate success. The hype surrounding entry of a son or grandson or a nephew of a recognized name creates hysteria within the media channels, which clamor for every detail of the entrants abilities and often compared to their father’s or uncles who have a life time of achievement. Often times the new comers talent is rarely questioned due to the predecessor’s successful career and the clout of their fan base. Sometimes even before the scion’s first movie release, they are given huge titles that represent their father’s work and promoted with huge fanfare for a startup aspirant.

The dominance with access to exhibiting facilities determines the screens needed for successful collections. The new multiplexes also pay a role in bringing crowds to watch movies. The established actors and their producers control majority of good theaters in the state and with their families churning out actors who automatically get great exhibition for their movies.

The automatic preference of media and publicity to the known names is understandable due to the continued presence of the father’s in the limelight and sons and nephews coming into acting. The media’s following of the generations of actors continue to the newer generation, and the newness and inexperience of the actors is bestowed on the fans with the generational greatness. It is simple to ask people to carry the burden of legacy in both films and politics. People embrace familiar names without prejudice and support the new generation.

The name recognition of the master’s is automatic, and draws great numbers to expect the same magic that was produced in 100’s of movies. The past generation of actors performed in multiple movies at a time, and still maintained absolute magic on the audiences. There are instances when actors had a new movie out every month and still each of these movies attracted audiences. The numerous fan associations of each actor rejoiced every movie and mannerisms of their idol each and every time. One hundred day screening of a movie was a normal celebration and it was expected with each movie the hero acted in. The more movies every year from the hero the more we wanted.

The adoration we have for the legends of cinema is passed on to the new entrants with old names. As we keep our family tree in sacred regard, so goes the fans response to their hero’s progeny, and expectations of continued brilliance on screen. With today’s continuous coverage it is not impossible to keep these new generations scion visible and constantly promoted.

The need for entertainment outweighs the quality of the product. We hope the new generation of actors will perform to standards set by the legends of our cinema, and will continue to wish for the golden days of our cinema. With new breed of directors, wonderful foreign locals, graphics and a host of technology advancements and musical advancements, and should provide reasonable support structure to deliver quality entertainment. After a few attempts the new actors will have to deliver on their own irrespective of the name they carry with them. With the choices of projects and growing numbers with familiar names, it will be the rule to perform or perish. While the historical performances of the seniors is often remembered and cherished, there is a long time to come before the new entrants can be placed in the same pedestal that their fathers occupy. For the sake of entertainment and happiness, it is wonderful to keep hearing the same names, while wishing for the same quality of entertainment.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Associations

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com


A group of people with common ideas or aspirations form associations. We have 100’s or 1000’s of associations of Indian origin in the USA, and all of them successfully funded by the associates. We have several decades of history with Indian associations in the USA and most of the older ones have been quite purposeful in their activities.

As it happens with most successful enterprises each of our historical associations have helped fund temples, medical and educational organizations and multitude of wonderful non-for-profit enterprises with generosity and genuine goodness.

The bigger associations also have annual or semi-annual gatherings on a very grand scale that showcases the wealth factor of the NRI community, and draw thousands of like minded families to be together for a few days. They spend vast amount of resources for collective show of camaraderie of their associations, and make these gathering very successful in size and showmanship. As the years go by they have become more then just gatherings of like minded people, and have drawn large scale business, religion, literature, entertainment, food, social and time pass activities, marriages, dating and meeting and political connotations to the gatherings.

I for one enjoy the entertainment and food at these events. They are at most times fantastic in their appeal and cost is included in the ticket pricing. They are great value to the event goers. These shows also bring a lot of comedy and humor and the audience genuinely seem to be involved and entertained. The audience doesn’t really worry too much about the stature of the person entertaining them, but enjoy what is presented to them. Even the local singers and dancers who perform in any of these shows along with local associations are appreciated for their performances. It is great fun to see someone sing or dance or do a skit in your own language while you watch with thousand odd folks you associate with.

These gatherings are also great occasions to be with relatives and friends for a couple of days and relish the entertainment and food, along with the company of near and dear ones. A lot of people are from same town, same college and same caste and same sects, along with many similar affiliations which bring them together and bind them together. This is a natural way of life for Indians and people of our state. It’s nice to be with your own folks, and it is historically natural behavior.

Many of the original associations have become enormous in size and have split into multiple associations further identifying either ideological perspective or intergroup associations based on people’s preferences of who they would like to be with. There is nothing extraordinary about this type of separation when people of various perspective identifying with only a part of the larger association and define their own associates. It a natural behavioral progression of people in our society to group with their own kind as it satisfies personal and ideological tendencies that are a part of our make.

When separation happens it is difficult to the associates as they are being segregated from their long term likings and relationships. Their new association is desirable due to the choices they have made, and the old associates become distant in communication and perspective. Natural disagreements while separating become issues of debate and start to create community tensions. Each one of us have at least a few family members and friends and when we gather with them it is 100% agreement on that the other group is the one at fault for whatever they have done to cause the commotion. Once the groups of people start to justify what they are doing is correct, it becomes difficult to see the point of view of the other group of people they just separated from.

With each of the newly created associations we are simply reiterating the principals of what we did with the original associations; their principals and traditions, the values of our people, food and entertainment and above all our oneness. We form new associations and restate our commitment to our people, culture, traditions and working for social causes. We redraft the articles of association; we develop new literature and new communications for a smaller group of people. As travel is cheap, availability of celebrities and politicians abundant and disposable income to pay for the extravagances, it is simple to put together an event for a few thousand people.

Only the negatives of the splits with each community are given prominence in discussions and coverage, and nothing notable gets publicized on accomplishments of the associates. The greater good of big and small associations gets very small print and the differences a great deal of mileage. The people who come as guests from India be it political or other leaders have no sense of the way of life outside of India and will make utterances that are for their Indian audiences, which cause emotional responses from the local folks who paid for witnessing these inappropriate utterances, and fuel the feelings of decent and normally well behaved citizens who are leaders in their community and businesses.

We like having people from India come and speak to us and entertain us in the USA, and they like to speak to us as they are doing to the public in India. It is ironic that no specific and organized effort from the state or central government in India offers benefits to the causes of NRI. We have no offices that can handle the death, unemployment, resettlement and facilities that are without difficulties beyond comprehension, and yet we feel that a single unplanned discussion with personal comments with a visiting politician or entertainer should be given our personal support. Any outburst to such comments is an emotional reaction to the moment when we are in a large group of people rather then our normal daily behavior. We live here and have lived here for a long time and with our own community of people and prospered away from politics and personal prejudices of the current crop of people who come to see us and speak to us. We will sometimes get emotional when we hear inappropriate words from a stranger who might be making self-preserving comments. This should not be a cause for alarm as when we walk out such gatherings we will go back to being civil and professional, and live normal NRI lives worrying about our life and living and families and friends.

The associations we have today will continue to multiple and will continue to foster as long as the associates are willing to fund the activities and entertainers. All for being together with our own people and for a few days every year be in a gathering that is paid for by our checkbooks and with each year become grander in scale, and when they get large enough split into new associations. God bless all of them as they belong to us.

Associations

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com


A group of people with common ideas or aspirations form associations. We have 100’s or 1000’s of associations of Indian origin in the USA, and all of them successfully funded by the associates. We have several decades of history with Indian associations in the USA and most of the older ones have been quite purposeful in their activities.

As it happens with most successful enterprises each of our historical associations have helped fund temples, medical and educational organizations and multitude of wonderful non-for-profit enterprises with generosity and genuine goodness.

The bigger associations also have annual or semi-annual gatherings on a very grand scale that showcases the wealth factor of the NRI community, and draw thousands of like minded families to be together for a few days. They spend vast amount of resources for collective show of camaraderie of their associations, and make these gathering very successful in size and showmanship. As the years go by they have become more then just gatherings of like minded people, and have drawn large scale business, religion, literature, entertainment, food, social and time pass activities, marriages, dating and meeting and political connotations to the gatherings.

I for one enjoy the entertainment and food at these events. They are at most times fantastic in their appeal and cost is included in the ticket pricing. They are great value to the event goers. These shows also bring a lot of comedy and humor and the audience genuinely seem to be involved and entertained. The audience doesn’t really worry too much about the stature of the person entertaining them, but enjoy what is presented to them. Even the local singers and dancers who perform in any of these shows along with local associations are appreciated for their performances. It is great fun to see someone sing or dance or do a skit in your own language while you watch with thousand odd folks you associate with.

These gatherings are also great occasions to be with relatives and friends for a couple of days and relish the entertainment and food, along with the company of near and dear ones. A lot of people are from same town, same college and same caste and same sects, along with many similar affiliations which bring them together and bind them together. This is a natural way of life for Indians and people of our state. It’s nice to be with your own folks, and it is historically natural behavior.

Many of the original associations have become enormous in size and have split into multiple associations further identifying either ideological perspective or intergroup associations based on people’s preferences of who they would like to be with. There is nothing extraordinary about this type of separation when people of various perspective identifying with only a part of the larger association and define their own associates. It a natural behavioral progression of people in our society to group with their own kind as it satisfies personal and ideological tendencies that are a part of our make.

When separation happens it is difficult to the associates as they are being segregated from their long term likings and relationships. Their new association is desirable due to the choices they have made, and the old associates become distant in communication and perspective. Natural disagreements while separating become issues of debate and start to create community tensions. Each one of us have at least a few family members and friends and when we gather with them it is 100% agreement on that the other group is the one at fault for whatever they have done to cause the commotion. Once the groups of people start to justify what they are doing is correct, it becomes difficult to see the point of view of the other group of people they just separated from.

With each of the newly created associations we are simply reiterating the principals of what we did with the original associations; their principals and traditions, the values of our people, food and entertainment and above all our oneness. We form new associations and restate our commitment to our people, culture, traditions and working for social causes. We redraft the articles of association; we develop new literature and new communications for a smaller group of people. As travel is cheap, availability of celebrities and politicians abundant and disposable income to pay for the extravagances, it is simple to put together an event for a few thousand people.

Only the negatives of the splits with each community are given prominence in discussions and coverage, and nothing notable gets publicized on accomplishments of the associates. The greater good of big and small associations gets very small print and the differences a great deal of mileage. The people who come as guests from India be it political or other leaders have no sense of the way of life outside of India and will make utterances that are for their Indian audiences, which cause emotional responses from the local folks who paid for witnessing these inappropriate utterances, and fuel the feelings of decent and normally well behaved citizens who are leaders in their community and businesses.

We like having people from India come and speak to us and entertain us in the USA, and they like to speak to us as they are doing to the public in India. It is ironic that no specific and organized effort from the state or central government in India offers benefits to the causes of NRI. We have no offices that can handle the death, unemployment, resettlement and facilities that are without difficulties beyond comprehension, and yet we feel that a single unplanned discussion with personal comments with a visiting politician or entertainer should be given our personal support. Any outburst to such comments is an emotional reaction to the moment when we are in a large group of people rather then our normal daily behavior. We live here and have lived here for a long time and with our own community of people and prospered away from politics and personal prejudices of the current crop of people who come to see us and speak to us. We will sometimes get emotional when we here inappropriate words from a stranger who might be making self-preserving comments. This should not be a cause for alarm as when we walk out such gatherings we will go back to being civil and professional, and live normal NRI lives worrying about our life and living and families and friends.

The associations we have today will continue to multiple and will continue to foster as long as the associates are willing to fund the activities and entertainers. All for being together with our own people and for a few days every year be in a gathering that is paid for by our checkbooks and with each year become grander in scale, and when they get large enough split into new associations. God bless all of them as they belong to us.

Monday, June 08, 2009

In Country Long Term Plans for Indian Telecom

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

It will not be expensive. It will not require big budgets. It will not need any investment bankers. It will not need any government approvals. It will not need shareholder consent. It will be a simple strategy to look for greater revenue sources with long term profit for telecom companies.

India still offers great internal opportunity for long term growth with sustainable revenue and profit opportunities in telecom.

Telecommuting
Billions of hours and dollars are spent on the streets fighting traffic and consuming fuel. Let us not forget the pollution and all other costs of travelling. The stress is another factor in simply getting from place to place. There is no place in India big or small where traffic doesn’t far exceed the capacity of the roads, and it is only getting worse.

With most urban India well connected, companies can start looking at telecommuting as an option to ease the burden of traffic and cost. Internet and phone service is no longer expensive, and can be deployed for a multitude of support services, and work at home options for many jobs. Specially the telecom related services can be well handled away from the offices and can be effective. Indian enterprise should take a leaf from many of the western environments where working from home, and remote locations is common.

Wireless Villages
Close by tower can provide internet to villages nearby, and provide Internet access. Each village can be a self containing telecommunications center albeit small. Many people from the villagers already have mobile phones and already in the mobile user group and bringing internet to every village will further develop their ability to access the world through computers.

Village Web Sites
Probably the most fascinating thing about India is its villages. Nowadays there are many well educated people from the villages who no longer live there, leaving behind their families. There are also a huge number of NRI who belong to the rural India. Adapting to telecommuting, introducing wireless services into the villages will only enhance the community to become a part of the global landscape. A simple website can be very inexpensive to create and maintain. Perhaps this is also an initiative that the government can undertake in real rural development programs.

Voter registration, weather bulletins, agricultural programs and updates, political news, people and productivity issues, local happenings and other individualized information can be instant to the village websites. Involving the local talent from the village will help in keeping things up-to-date and informative.

Government can post the local project activity, development plans and any relevant issues to the locals. Local schools and colleges nearby can be made responsible for making every effort to keep data current and help maintain the websites. It may be a great idea to include such activity into the daily learning for school and college going kids, who will enthusiastically work on them and will learn the mechanics at the same time.

Online Education
Simply linking the wireless villages, websites and complete communications access will enhance the ability to learn from long distance. Both the rural children and adults will benefit from online education.

Outside of the vast amount of free information available on the internet, it is simple to design and provide online education. Every school with a small computer center can serve the purpose of both real time and offline education.
Children during the day time and adults during the evening can benefit from learning.

As the country continues to grow, it is also important to have intellectual growth to continue to make the nation reinvent itself and adapt to the changing times. Be it agricultural methods or software development India needs to keep learning and improving to prosper for ever, and no better ways to keep providing the edge to the people than education. Online education is inexpensive and available all the time for people who want to learn.

While we should support global expansion of our homegrown telecom companies, we should plan for continued growth with in the country. If the new government plans to wipeout all slums in India within 5 years, it can easily support to incorporate telecommunications reach to 100% of Indians in the same timeframe.

June 7th 2009
Vasu Reddy
President
Optus Technologies, Inc.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Indian Telecom – The Case for Faster Growth

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

Some 429 million or more users and adding quickly to this is quite an attractive case for faster growth. Government of India and the private sector should push for more rapid and positive changes in telecom. The positive effects on the overall economy due to the communications industry are enormous; 13,000 Crores of possible revenues for DOT in 2009, with 55,000 Crores of revenues in past five years, with a 15% estimated increase in the 2009 revenues to DOT for the foreseeable future. These are billions of dollars every year and just to the DOT as licensing fees from operators.

There is positive earning that contributes to income tax that further enhances government’s take from communications industry. There is no begrudging these numbers, rather the fantastic positive effect of the communications industry to the nation’s coffers. Every minute people are calling out to someone, there is revenue to the government.

There are government enterprises such as BSNL, MTNL and other communications players that further add to the revenues, along with huge market valuations on the enterprises. As these public enterprises are well funded and well capitalized, their market valuations are equal to or better then a private enterprise. If there is a quick need for raising capital taking BSNL public will create a huge inflow of cash into the coffers.

For more than a year 3 G license auctions have been close to being held and they could happen in 2009. This will again add another 20,000 to 40,000 Crores to the government coffers. And added to the initial fees, the additional networks will only drive the user growth in areas where there is network congestion, and need for additional value added services. 3 G networks will certainly add a higher value per user which again adds to total revenues and to the DOT take on fees collected.

Adding all these thousands of Crores is an exercise that will delight the finance ministry as well as the government which is just finishing the elections, and start spending to meet those wonderful promises made to the public to get their votes. Budget deficits can be trimmed or eliminated so that real development programs can be funded rather then paying interest on past debts.

The government should focus on making telecom a priority and implement every possible policy that fosters the industry for faster growth. Spectrum allocation, M&A practices, new license auctions, adding the rest of India to the telecom footprint and separating the military network needs with civilian network needs; all of these should be handled expeditiously. Making telecom regulation and issues a national priority will help with a multitude of positive influences on the economy. India is a nation that focuses on IT exports as a big external source as a revenue generator, should focus on telecom as an internal revenue generator. If the industry is well managed and regulators focus on problem solving rather than fixing past issues, the opportunity is there for telecom industry helping the national owes with many areas including budget balancing, employment and communications.

Some nations have achieved 100% mobile penetration and 120% plus in telecom user base. India can do it with very little effort. Indians are very adaptive to the mobile and fixed networks, and if available we will be a billion users plus country.

The budget process focuses too much on software and IT exports, while telecom revenues are growing furiously. Telecom will and should compete for being the top revenue generator for the government. Faster growth in telecom will make it the biggest revenue generator for the government.

Telecom creating better employment opportunities is obvious. With each ten to fifteen million users added every month, thousands of jobs are also being added to support the growing user base. Construction of new infrastructure, sales and marketing, accounting, maintenance services, management and support services are all added every month with the increase in users and thus bringing educated workforce to contribute by paying personal income taxes. They also bank with credit and debit cards, buy products on installments and add to the circulation of more and more money every month; increasing the consumption and production of every industry in the country.

Telecom companies have solid management teams, and compete with each other with style, substance and services. The partnerships in all major private enterprises consist of who’s who from the global pool of investors and operators who enhance the already talented Indian management team. Each of these teams will never cease to rest in loading more users and attaining better profits for their investors; only way they can do it is being better at providing products and services that retain and grow their user base. At this moment they have a lot of room to grow and prosper in the Indian market.

Indian government should immediately seize the opportunity and focus on the telecom industry, and help it grow faster. Regulators and politicians can handle this segment with utmost care and sensibility to help faster growth and uninhibited competition. For sure the regulators and industry will argue that they are focused on telecom and making things easy for new competition, but not enough has been done to simplify the regulatory environment. There is continued ambiguity with fee structure, differences of opinion of spectrum management, entry and exit issues, competitive imbalances and poor regulatory management. The industry has prospered and contributed despite these continued and nagging issues.

In the just concluded elections, people were promised everything on earth for free, but no politician promised a free mobile or subsidized talk time to its constituents. If there was a freebie that would have attention of the people, it would have been a free mobile with lifetime service contracts. As all incoming calls are free in India, it would have been a great giveaway, but the election commission might have had a fit about such giveaway. The government could have been smart enough to give them away and have argued that they were keeping people undated of weather or something useful like commodity prices or something of that sort. Fun aside, the telecom business is a serious business with positive implications for the nation for a long time to come.

May 3rd 2009
Vasu Reddy
President
Optus Technologies, Inc.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Too Successful To Regulate?

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

Every wireless communications company in India is big. By big meaning they have already paid huge upfront costs for license and infrastructure even before they get started. Each wireless player have to pay hundreds of millions to get a UAS license and then pay for the area licenses, along with infrastructure and people costs. There is no small mobile services company in India; each and every one all of them are big investments.

There is constant squabble about the impending changes to regulations in the communications markets, and constant delays in implementation of changes and advances. The much delayed 3 G license auctions is an example of squandering a wonderful opportunity to help relieve the congestion in the mobile airwaves, and allowing for much needed high end mobiles services. 3 G services would help bring in more low ARP users who need basic services into the mobile population, while allowing the migration of high ARP users to move to the 3 G network, allowing new users in the 2 G network.

The constant discussion on the fund to support the development of rural telecommunications is simply a huge fund collected but unused to really fund the expansion of telecommunications in rural India. Hefty goals to include all parts of India into the network is easily possible if the money already collected and on hand is used to do this.

Awarding 3 G licenses to only the government owned networks is simply the slowest way to bring the services to the market, as these government owned networks while well funded and well endowed with spectrum, are the least efficient of all networks. There is nothing wrong with the networks, simply the way they are managed makes them lethargic compared to networks where the government has no ownership.

Termination calls to each other has also courted controversy. What mobile operators pay each other has been constant since early part of this decade, and has been subjected to modification this year. If it goes up it hurts the new operators, and if it goes down the incumbents have a grouse about losing revenue.

The private networks (even the smallest operating network) are loading tens of millions of users every month. Every market survey indicates that the user base will double fairly quickly. So, the lack of market opportunity is not a barrier to entry. It is really the availability of spectrum and transparency in handling the licensing process. The success of the market continues to attract global investment into India’s mobile markets. The combination of Indian market opportunity and semi transparent policies continues to attract global investors to keep evaluating the interest into India.

Regulators must choose implementation of guidelines to improve the quality and affordability of the services to the entire market. While making sure that neither the size of the company or investment it makes should allow for onerous disadvantages to any other company that wishes to compete in the same space, the regulators must continuously monitor and implement policies that are constantly in favor of fair competition and people oriented. India despite its massive telecommunications market is still behind in monitoring and implementing its own set of guidelines.

Simplification of the current guidelines, tax structure and tariff plans may not be as easy as a discussion or a panel. The delays with new services, the disparity in the size of enterprises, the political and economic clout enjoyed, the disassociation of laws from one service to the other, the unimagined growth, the market clout of the enterprises, and a whole set of cultural and traditional influences that are unique to India; are all the factors that drive the implementation of policy. Having said that, it is not impossible to simply use fair and unbiased market standards for communications markets, and it is not impossible to take the great Indian telecommunications market to adopt policies that are fair and unbiased to all competitors.

The big players are already in great strength with users, valuation and balance sheets. The regulators should start distancing themselves from the influence of individual companies or technologies, and start showing independence in formulation of future guidelines that fit the future needs of the market. Law, taxation and regulations must continue to seek answers for the future needs, and stop relying on the past. Barriers to entry should be competitive and global rather then protectionist.

April 9th 2009
Vasu Reddy
President
Optus Technologies, Inc.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Slumdog Telecom

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

Using the “Slumdog” title in the Telecom story is not to just attract attention. It’s really a great title for the Telecom Industry in India, which has been a great story for 15 plus years now, and continues to get bigger and bigger in the Telecom success stories of the world.

Despite the extraordinary growth with the market (with over 400 million subscribers) there is continued debate amongst the network operators, policy makers, politicians and technologists. All the commotion is not all that bad with the Indian Telecom market and it for sure makes great reading. There are endless delays with new spectrum auctions, allocation of spectrum to the already approved operators, debates on value of the 3 G spectrum, more committees to decide on future, BSNL and MTNL continuing to get preferential deals, bickering amongst the CDMA and GSM operators, TRAI and DOT differences and whatever that can be remotely controversial is all on the table.

3 G story is rather cumbersome one to tell as it still continues to go back and forth with politicians and technocrats still wrangling with each other, with sidebars with incumbent network owners adding to the confusion. The initial fees will not matter in the long run if the networks load subscribers at the current rate, as the annual royalties will more then makeup for any initial fees that are being estimated. If we add at least three years of loss of interest, fees and other benefits that would have accrued by the country, and continued delays of releasing the 3 G spectrum will only be greater. The regulators should stop tinkering and get the auctions done as soon as possible to get the 3 G networks into production. The spectrum allocation must be done at close of auctions rather then a protracted delay as it has happened with 2 G networks. The long term rewards will outweigh any immediate shortfall in expected initial fees. Quick deployment expands the subscriber base by moving the premium subscribers into the new networks while allowing new subscribers who need basic services into the existing networks. Whatever the initial fees that is generated certainly supports the budgeting of defense network and allow some budget relief for programs earmarked for this new revenue. The greater impact to overall telecom revenues will be with increases the ILD and LLD traffic across the networks by adding smaller communities to the network.

While the world has gone through a peak period of valuations and now working through a recession and perhaps back into an upswing, the value of more people connected in India will help with the overall economic growth. India has been thriving even the worst years of global economic slowdown. New opportunities for expanded role of more Indians to add to the GDP growth of the country will keep this momentum in positive indices while the world will work its way back into overall positive growth.

The 30 paisa per minute termination of a call rate that is being debated between old and new network operators also should be dealt with quickly.
Incumbent’s verses new entrants should not be dealt as an adversarial situation, rather then combining the strengths to offer the best value for customers. The market should drive the pricing rather then regulation.

The early entrants have enjoyed the benefits of lower pricing on their license fees, albeit they also risked the uncertainty of the markets. But the unchanged policies which are older then 6 years and over 300 million users ago, should be dealt with the reality of today. People have recovered their initial outlay of capital and the new entrants have a bigger outlay today with lower revenue per user, and by trying to impose mechanics established many years ago in today’s environment may not be the most positive way for serving the current needs.

Rural education, mobile banking, video and voice transmission and many other areas of communications will become more prominent with higher speed wireless networks. More mobile value added service will be introduced with the new networks and will create more opportunity for developers.

It is time for all agencies and individuals to stop poking at the process and let the market define it self. There is a need to grow employments and new networks will bring in hordes of opportunities in engineering, sales, development, towers and a whole slew of new VAS development.

The Indian Telecom market is ready for continued success. Success despite the bureaucratic shenanigans and technology lobbying is simply a matter of fact. Just imagine the economic and intrinsic benefits when the subscriber count crosses 800 million in a couple of years? The benefits of well connected India with people communicating with the world will yield untold benefits to the overall economy of the country. Let the market have access to all available spectrum and let the users have the choice of technology. Let the users choose from a variety of choices of networks. Let everyone in India get connected and prosper.

March 7th 2009
Vasu Reddy
President
Optus Technologies, Inc.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Telecom Village Project

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

Introspection is quite personal. While continuing to write regular perspective on Indian telecom, its governing agencies and its major players, the time has come to make a project on brining the benefits of telecom to a village.

My personal telecom project is to try and bring present day network to my own village in Andhra Pradesh. It is in Kadapa district near the town of Proddutur and known as Korrapadu. There are about 2,000 to 2,200 total homes in my village with about 6,000 people living there. The local education stops at 10th standard in the village. The high school has about 300 students, which is a number that is vastly improved number from may be 10 years ago. The school is well maintained and well organized. The village folks contribute to the school by being generous with donating to children who come first in school, and also to children who do well in various subjects. There are approximately 100 fixed lines connections in the village. There is no internet connection available yet.

It is a typical South Indian village with a small school, hospital, temple, a bus station and families who have lived there for several generations. It is surrounded with wonderful agricultural lands, and has reasonable irrigation facilities and in good monsoon doesn’t have problems with water. Over and above it has my people, and thus very special to me and my personal interest in my Telecom Village Project.

There is no grand new scheme being for my village. For a couple of years this has been taking shape, and once this initial step of publishing the plan is complete, recruiting the support of the school and the village will commence. We need to make sure that the villagers support the project, and the already educated and computer literate folks of the village will help building this project. No financial support will be sought from anyone in the village so the project will be embraced for what it intends to, rather then a burden to them.

A simple plan is to fund the following:

1. Computer Center – The high school is within a small little compound, and can accommodate a computer room. If not a new room will be built to house four to six computer stations, have a sitting area for reading or having a discussion group, and if needed convert the room into a training or viewing room. This room can be used in the evening for adult education programs, training people of enterprise or agricultural programs, women’s education and family planning.
2. Computers – Once the village and the high school approve of the plan for establishing the computer room, we will purchase new computers with latest speed and technology to become the property of the high school. Six machines will be networked together, and will have at least one large screen. They will be able to be on www, and also available for education programs and even entertainment.
As a part of the project we will request the high school to allow all students access to the computers on a scheduled basis. The plan is to have the already computer literate people of the village to volunteer for training the students and teachers and make them self sufficient to use the computers and internet.
3. Internet Connectivity – Next to the purchase of the computers is bringing internet connectivity into the village. The nearest town is about 7 miles away, and there is a cellular tower nearby the village. Whatever needs to be done, internet will be made available to the computer center. The hope is every student, teacher and anyone else in the village who wish to be on the internet will be able to for free, and make themselves a part of the www community. Many have mobile phones in the village, and it is very likely some will purchase their own internet connectivity once this plan takes shape.
4. Licensed Software – Everything installed in the computer center infrastructure and software will be legally acquired. Software for learning word, excel, photo shop, simple software and other interne tools, and any other training or learning material will be purchased or made available through donations. The kids need to start to learn the value of licensing from the beginning.
5. Local area network – There are computer trained youngsters in the village or from the village. They will be recruited to help volunteer to setup the local area network within the computer center.
6. Solar Lamp and Back-up Power – The village is in same situation as rest of the rural India and has its share of power outages. A quality solar lamp and a backup system that can sustain the use of computers if power fails will be part of the budget to make sure that there will be minimal or no interruption to the planned use of the computer center.

The biggest hurdle may be to get high quality and high speed internet on an uninterrupted basis into the village. If for whatever reason acquiring internet becomes a problem, we will probably build a cellular power to bring in wireless internet. There are quite a few villages around a 10 mile radius, and it might be great to get a tower around the village. This might even become a revenue generator to support all the ongoing costs of the project.

Before I write my last column for 2009, I intend to not just fund this but also see this succeed, and make it a part of every child in my village to have access to a computer and the internet, along with the benefits of www. In the next 11 months this will be implemented with the support of my village and the blessing of the headmaster and teaching staff in the village.

Many other benefits and perhaps issues will for sure surface once we bring this project to light. Once we secure the blessings of the villagers, we will press on with the implementation.

There is no ideological initiative with this small project for Korrapadu. It is simply to make an effort to further implore the value of communications. There will be an immediate and everlasting value for the children by having access to computers and internet. When they go off to junior college they will have the tools to do research and learn quickly and more importantly without the burden of purchasing a lot of books, or travelling to the town to get to the library. There will be benefit to the adults in understanding the use of immediate and instant access to information; be it neither the weather or the news. Who knows they might watch a movie with their family on the computers and do something that they normally will not do with their entire families. It will be connected and informed, and that is the payback.


February 7th 2009
Vasu Reddy
President
Optus Technologies, Inc.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Imagining Value Addition from 3 G Networks

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

It is anticipated that India will soon conduct 3 G auctions. Although the dates for these auctions have been moved, it is certain sooner or later they will happen. There is continued debate with the regulators on how many 3 G licenses should be auctioned, and how much should be the floor price and competition and other issues. It is very likely that these issues will be resolved and in some form or fashion the auctions will go on. When the auctions are successfully completed and new networks come to life, the users can look forward to added features and functionality with 3 G.

With the expectation of some great new ways to use these new networks, here are some predictions and services that can become real.

Video chat is probably one of the exciting features that can become a viable and inexpensive option with 3 G networks. It will be a great way to see folks while we chat, and perhaps a good value added feature to push on the new network. With the incoming calls into India expanding by the day, and if the cost of incoming traffic is free to the users in India, you can bet on the video use to grow exponentially.

Movies on the mobile can become a value added feature that perhaps will allow the bored commuters to subscribe and enjoy. Imagine the super rich of Mumbai or Delhi or any other major metro in India being driven around in the traffic. They sure would love to get news and entertainment on the go, and even perhaps a movie they would like to watch on demand.

The great Indian roads certainly can be more accessible with GPS and directions from the mobile. The complexity of new development and old time infrastructure makes life for new drivers very difficult due to the poorly marketed roads. Even experienced drivers have great difficulty with navigation. 3 G can certainly get voice activated directions as you go and make life simpler for drivers. It will be a great idea to have directions on the go in multiple languages.

Perhaps one of the favorite wishes is to get help with the kitchen. A live demonstration of cooking on the phone so your daughter in the far away land can watch you and follow in creating amazing dishes for friends. Several amazing things can happen by simply linking phone to a home computer for recipe management. Instead of calling mom in India everything you need help, 3 G can store and retrieve information on a need basis.

It may be possible to replace the use of Yahoo Messenger for showing off what the new baby is doing to folks in India. There will be no more hanging around the yahoo messenger and pointing the cam towards the action, as the 3 G phone can go where ever to show off. With the price per minute of telephony low enough, it will be a great way to start showing off the snow, beaches, people, parties and whatever we can to folks in India. Oh my God, the possibilities of sharing personal space is endless, provided we don’t go over board.

While making a wish list of things to do from a 3 G network, there are amazing ways to expand the business and support infrastructure to support the networks. Mapping, video, GPS, storage, voice and data retrieval, shopping, file storage and many such simple and economical solutions can be implemented to meet personal and professional needs of the users.

3 G should move the heavy duty users on to the new networks and free up the congestion of the existing GSM and CDMA networks. This has dual benefit as the new users in both networks will no longer experience the congestion that has become a way of life in crowded areas.

These networks will foster a new generation of developers who will cater to the value addition needed while creating more telecom jobs, more companies in mobile applications, and more internet to mobile connectivity. 3 G surely should bring new energy into the great Indian telecom market.

Whatever the price they will command in an auction, 3 G promises more users for the Indian mobile market. Here is to hoping that these auctions will bring a lot of money to the Indian Treasury and also great deal of value addition to the users. It will be another fantastic year for mobile markets in India, with great value in services with the highest quality.

January 14th 2009
Vasu Reddy
President
Optus Technologies, Inc.