Friday, December 7, 2007

Services: what works in India...

I recently visited Bangalore. I enlist below a list of experiences with services

1. Cellular service - As good as I could have expected - my T-Mobile-Deutschland happily connected to Airtel's network (largest in India) and I was good to go as soon as I landed. Great reception, all over. Of fcourse, I am in a city of 10M+ people, where any mobile operator would roll out the best network for all those phones.

2. Airport baggage service - Well, that is a sad story. There was about 1 small baggage belt for a loaded 747. Took an hour to get the baggage off the belt, even though there were at least 10 attendents trying to speed up the process.

3. Roads - Bumpier than Germany's, but usable.

4. Traffic - Well, in India, never count distances by kilometers. Count in time. Moreover, traffic is particularly bad during the rush hours.

5. Broadband - Its not bad, considering you can buy a 256kbps down-link "broadband" DSL connection for just 4 Euros/month.

6. TV - I tried Tata Sky, a satellite TV system. The most interesting thing is that they have a "prepaid" system with a tariff of about 25c per day. Plus there is VoD - the money just gets debited from the "pre-paid" account. I think that Satellite TV is the most suitable Digital TV technology for India where the DSL/Cable infrastructure is very poor.

7. Banking - There are 2 banking systems - the western one with the ATMs and Internet banking, and the traditional eastern system where you visit the bank to do anything with Money. I believe that the former is slowly replacing the latter. But with the spotty telecom infrastructure and low education levels, it is going to be a while before banking makes a complete switch, especially in rural India.

8. Service - I love it. There are human beings to help you with everything. A good restaurant will spoil you with multiple people waiting on you. A complaint about broadband was quickly escalated and the ISPs engineer personally called up when it was fixed - there are plenty of ISPs to choose from now.


Anonymous said...

Interesting post. Knew most of it already, but it was nice to see an alternate perspective.

-Vivek (K).

Sachin Agarwal said...

This post as you know can be expanded into a book! Cheers!

Harry said...

Nice post. I think all of us will be happy when the newly built and fully modernised airports in Bangalore and Hyderabad start operations in a few months. Besides a few agitating 'sarkari' employees, I think such transformational initiatives can't be stopped in India now. The hunger and appetite for modernisation seems uncontrollable there, everytime I too make a visit :) You would wish Bangalore had a Metro system too ;-)

Sachin Agarwal said...

Yes! Bangalore needs a metro! I think India is getting there very fast now. Give it 20-30 years and we should have at least a tier-2 infrastructure.