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The waves

As the Wind Blows

Location: Chennai, Tamilnadu, India

26 July 2003

Competition in industry can do wonders to your lifestyle.

If you have doubts, call the govt. telecom service provider. You will be bowled over by the very-customer-friendly attitude from Chennai telephones in its new avatar as BSNL. At least, I was – short of collapsing down in pleasant shock at the courteous replies and the patience with which they answered all my queries on broadband, “Netone” dial up service and many sundry queries. Can you imagine that earlier – say a couple of years ago?

Last week I had taken my father to a pathologist. While waiting in the lounge, I noticed that one or the other mobile was ringing constantly. Almost everyone on the lounge had a cell on hand. As the ring tones beeped one by one, people around wondered whose ring tone was that.

Today, phone connections are sold in vegetable shops (!). But not long ago, there was a big queue for a simple phone connection – we used to anxiously wait, checking up if our turn has arrived in the queue. More on that later – when I have more time to write a detailed account of the past experiences :-)

But the flip side is that intense competition can show an ugly side too – when one service provider blocks another’s products. – Like Reliance has done in Chennai. Dial any of the “toll free” number from competitor BSNL, and you will get the announcement that “ the number you have dialed is incorrect.” I don’t know if it is vice versa!!


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