KTMT Consulting

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Mobile Internet in Hands of 600 million Digitally Illiterate Indian People @ 30/- Per Month

Here is an opportunity for government and telecom companies to gear up for this inclusive national growth and improved governance opportunity of providing a 64 kbps shared mobile Internet in a cluster of 100 meter to 300 meter range @ 30 /- per month to 600 million digitally illiterate people of India. This is certainly possible if the government declares 20 MHz of CTS DECT spectrum in 1880-1900 MHz band unlicensed when the cost of airwaves becomes nil.

India has approx 40 % normal literacy and 50 % digital literacy implying we have 600 million digitally illiterate people. Broadly categorising these 600 million digitally illiterate people, it comes to 300 million parents and 300 million working people and children.

Taking a cue from NTT DoCoMo which provided 9.6 kbps Internet in the hands of Japanese farmers and other EWS Japanese people through i-mode, a proprietary technology in 1999-2000 which allowed these people to trade their produce directly in the whole sale market and cut out the middlemen, this was a path breaking move in the world by Japanese first.

India can do better by rigging up a last 300 meter CAT iQ compliant radio access infrastructure by concatenating eight DECT Base Stations back hauled through 2 mbps broadband bulk Internet BW, realising 32 Time Slots. At a contention ratio of 1:10, 320 EWS people living in clusters, hutments, small tenements and compact villages can be provided 64 kbps shared mobile Internet in their hands through dual mode dual band cellular and DECT compliant Hand Sets. Monthly charges for 2 mbps dedicated Internet BW is less than 6400/- which when distributed to 320 people, comes to 20/- per month. Giving 7/- per sub per month as all other opex and 3/- per sub per month as profit, the monthly service is priced as 30/-. Capex gets amortised in less than 3 years which can be worked out separately. These EWS people use this for their IVR UIs based apps like mail and other daily work and social apps. Various growth and governance related apps for these people will get launched automatically through the efforts of multiple App Services Providers. Government will be vastly enabled to bring these 600 million EWS digitally illiterate people into the main stream of economy and delivery of graft free government services.

These EWS people when within range of DECT Base Stations also use voice service with free airwaves and wired back haul making even call charges cheaper by more than 12 % which the carriers pay towards all kinds of spectrum charges. If we include the costly 2G spectrum charges which the carriers pay in auction, the call charges can be much cheaper than a cellular call.

When not in range of DECT Base Station, cellular service is available for both voice and Internet albeit a bit costly.

L0cal Cable Ooperaors (LCOs) and others can become the franchisees of telcos and can easily rig up this inexpensive last mile DECT infrastructure and carrier grade voice and internet is offered to these subs. Such an arrangement also reduces the capex burden on telcos for an end-to-end infrastructure as it will be now shared with franchisees.

The above is an excellent solution for 65 % slums in metors and other top cities. Carriers are not planning to invest in rural areas due to high cost of infrastructure, low returns, high 2G spectrum costs and regulatory uncertainty. This is one solution which can still offer mobile voice and Internet to 600 mn EWS people who are without a SIM card today. This is clearly an enabler which the governemnt can provide in order to meet its rural tele density and Internet penetration targets in next five to seven years.
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