Telecom Business in Rural India.
1) Limit the number of networks. As the business volume in the village areas of the Circle is low, one way to make the business take off is to allow only limited number of Service Providers just enough to keep the competition live. If two operators each of the Fixed Network, GSM and CDMA/ DECT technology, the small market space has to be shared by six Service Providers, and none can survive.
2) The Wired / Wireless differentiation is slowly vanishing.
From the business perspective, the differentiation between Fixed Network and Mobile Networks is slowly diminishing. Voice, Mobile Data/Internet characteristics in Mobile systems are similar to these in Fixed Networks. Differences are of course access type, bandwidth limitations and device characteristics.
3) Wireless networks would become economically viable.
The critical differentiation is in the local loop. About 80% of the cost of telecom in rural areas is of the local loop. As the cost of wireless technology systems have come down, it would become more economical to adopt predominantly Wireless technology in the rural networks. Already, CDMA based service has penetrated the Fixed Network area as an alternative to Wired Networks.
Therefore, the ideal way to give impetus to rural telecom is to link the villages with long haul OF cable networks and wireless links in the local area and the last mile connectivity.
4) Provide un-banked Money Management service in rural areas.
4.1 Money management using phones is an effective tool to realize ‘Financial Inclusion’ of people in the lower strata. There is a need to urgently implement non-banking and non- internet dependent solutions to realize financial inclusion of people in the lower social and economic strata.
4.2 The banks, both nationalized and private are white elephants always with an eye on profit rather than service. Whatever said and done, banks will not be able to effectively serve people in the lower economic strata in urban as well as rural areas. Even with Banking correspondents, formal banking procedures are not user friendly for illiterate and poor customers especially for the women and aged. Similarly, services of most of the Micro Finance Institutions are also unaffordable to people in the lower economic strata. Phone Money management system will make micro money payment facility available, accessible and affordable to everyone; including people in the lower economic strata at an individual level who is able and eligible to have phone in urban and rural areas.
For example: A person can avail loan against his small gold deposit in his Money management system Service Provider into his Money management account, use it and pay it back with nominal interest, from anywhere any time transparently without any human intervention.
4. 3 Phone money management systems can be used as a means to effectively disperse Governments welfare payments to real beneficiaries.
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Phone Money Management can be effectively used for sending various government welfare payments and money related programs of right to employment, right to food, right to education, right to health care, pension payments to retired employees, old aged and widow pension, relief payments to mentally / physically handicapped etc., to the Phone Money Management account of the beneficiaries across the country so that the they can get the money received in their Phone Money Management account by the real beneficiaries without pilferage and third party intervention and can be transacted using their mobile phones sitting at their homes.
4.4 . Phone money management system can enable effective usage of ADHAR. Adhar as and when it become ready can be used for identification and information needed for KYC of the Phone Money Management users which be linked with Phone Money Management account number to enable personalized secure transactions to realize Financial Inclusion and Micro Finance services available, accessible by everyone and especially the people in the lower economic strata. both in urban and rural across the country at affordable cost.
4.5. Solar powered energy to support for rural phone users. To make available the eco system to power Mobile phones and Set top boxes to link the media with a LAN to user lever computer systems at user premises, where regular electric supply is not available or cannot be afforded by villagers in rural areas, solar powered mobile phone chargers etc., to be provided at subsidized cost. Facility for free charging mobile phones could be provided at public places, post offices, Panchayat officer, bus stations / Rly. stns. etc.
Author: P. Abraham Paul e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org