Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Telecom Quagmire

All of us are well aware of how the Government of India is dragging its feet.. actually.. its whole body over the allocation of 3G spectrum to private players. The process was started a couple of years ago and all indications point towards it carrying on for another couple.. by which time, the currently vibrant telecom space in India might just lose all the sheen and promise it holds for Telecom majors the world over (as is already apparent by the fact that no private player was present on the 1st day of renewed calls of discuss on 3G bandwidth allocation by the government). For the uninitiated, 3G stands for 3rd generation telephony which, among other things would enable faster broadband services and greater voice quality.
But then, one might ask what are the first two generation technologies in mobile telephony and also, is 3G the latest thing or are some service providers trying same other, more advanced technologies as well?
What follows is whatever little I know about the various generations of affore mentioned technology
1G - The 1st generation, analogue communications, impossible tariffs, bad voice quality, no data carrying capacities, never came to India
2G - The technology we use currently, average voice quality and data speeds.
3G - Better voice quality, high speed net, but uses huge bandwidths.
4G - Yes, it exists, and is just starting to come out of the labs and into a few European and East Asian countries apart from the U.S., highly efficient, can work on 2G spectrum bands itself, extremely fast, live T.V. on the go would be an everyday thing, cheap, works with both GSM as well as CDMA networks and the list goes on.

So, the question which now arises is why is the Government of India in general and the TRAI in particular not following logic it used way back in 1995 when it leapfrogged to using the 2G networks instead of the analogue and introduce 4G networks instead of 3G. Why is one of the fastest growing telecom markets in the world being faced with a very real possibility of having to use outdated technology when better and cheaper alternatives are available? Would we in the coming months see some inspired decisions being made or will Telecom also be relegated to the fates of countless other industries in India which started with a bang but stagnated and become 'bimaroo' soon?

Sources: The Economic Times of India:$FILE/4GMobile.pdf

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Mayajal

Yes!! I have done it!! I have finally solved the dilemma which has baffled the Indian state for time immemorial. Why are the Dalits (a schedule cast as defined by the Indian Constitution) poor even after the best efforts of successive governments through reservations and countless other welfare schemes? I must confess though that the solution did not come to me after contemplating the matter for long. No, it came as a startling revelation prompted by looking at a certain picture. That of Miss Mayawati wearing a garland made up of Rs. 1000 notes worth anywhere from 21 lacs (only 21 lacs if a BSP MLA is to be believed) to 15 crores in a Garib (Poor) Rally to facilitate 25 years of formation of her Political Party, the BSP. And no, as most people who have just a cursory knowledge of Indian politics know, that is far from the end of it. Be it the 'Birthday Gifts' amounting to millions.. probably billions of rupees she receives from her 'Loving Supporters' every year to her wanton misuse of public funds and machinery be it on erecting statues of various Dalit Leaders (herself included) and commissioning special Police teams to protect them from vandalism, to ordering police probes into the presence of honey bees at one of her rallies, she has done it all. And I am serious when i say 'it all', for the Chief Minister of U.P. is not guilty of only exuberance, but also for how stingy she is at times, like when it comes to increasing the the budget of the Police in one of the most lawless state if India or when she requests the Central Government to help her with giving to next of Kin to people who lost their lives in an unfortunate temple stampede.

Enough Mayawati baiting for now though, let us (finally) get to the point of this blog post in the 1st place. Why? Why is the politics of the Hindi Heartland 10 to 15 years behind that of the rest of the nation? Why are religion and caste still the most important parameters used to decide whom one should vote for? Is it because they are 10 to 15 years behind most of the country in terms of development? If so, then it pains me to conclude stating, which confidence that we are well and truly stuck in the proverbial 'Mayajal' because the people who can most obviously help the place to develop are the ones who would most likely be disadvantaged by its development. The solution? Well.. that i would leave for the reader to suggest or wait for another time when something inspires me to go on a politician bashing spree again... till then.. God Bless India..