“Second is the new Minute” – one of the nice tag lines of GSM mobile service of TATA, DOCOMO.
From the first day, when mobile operators started their business, the pulse was 1 minute. Wait! Let me time travel to the old days, when there was no mobile phone, and we have popular (BTW, not that much popular as mobile phones) communication medium – telephone (the fixed line wala). And the pulses are similar to this – local calls (mostly within the city or area, which comes under same STD code, when you don’t need to add STD code while dialing) 3 minutes and STD calls pulses were varying from some seconds (not sure how much second in minimum – I have seen 15 seconds as the minimum) to one minutes.
Then introduced to call any other telephone, which is out side your STD area but in your state, people were using 91 or 95 instead 0 before the STD code while dialing. Those calls were treated as local calls. Then we stepped in PCO era. We saw many PCOs – in every village and 1 in each 7 or 8 shops in towns. One fun part associated with it is as follows. Wherever I have seen any PCO, it is written in big letters – STD ISD PCO. So most people never try to understand what STD, ISD and PCO means. And they call PCO as STD, as STD comes first in that sequence. When I was a kid, and it was the first years of PCO era, I was thinking, “STD means to call any number out of the area, ISD means to call outside India and what’s PCO for? It’s perhaps local calls!”. Then I asked someone and understand PCO stands for Public Call Office, and never call it as STD.
Mobile phone was introduced in PCO era, but was not so popular. The reasons were, mobile handsets were too costly, the operator charges were too costly too. Even you need to pay for receiving calls. Then more operators came in to the business, handsets price started going down and people able to afford a handset and a SIM. Hey! I was talking about pulses. So all the mobile operators were providing 1 minute pulse. Unlike old days of land lines, the 1 minute pulse was fixed for all types of calls – local, on net, and STD. Similarly the land lines plans also revised to have simple pulses, 1 minute for all expect local land line calls which goes for 3 minutes. And instead of charging same for all units, they charge different for different types of calls. So I pay for 60 seconds and always talk less that that! It mostly happens like that. You hang up the call when the timer says some minutes 01 seconds and you need to pay money for those 59 seconds which you have not used. Then I was thinking why no one charges per second pulse.
Then came TATA DOCOMO to Do the new. Flat rate for both local, on net, STD and 1 second pulse. Well it’s time for other competitors to come with some challenging plans. Virgin Mobile showing in their ad, that STD call is less than local calls in their phone, STD call is less that 1 Paisa per second in their phone, but it’s written in small letters, 50 paisa per minute, that means no 1 second pulse, the pulse is 1 minute. Then Aircell people are jumped in to the war with 1 paisa per 1 second pulse (written in small letters, for new connections). And that’s a fucking business theory. You will be very good for your new customers and will treat your loyal old customers as dogs? Why the old customers will not get this service? Do they want their old customers to throw the old SIM and buy a new one to use the new plan? If the operator asks some money to the existing customers to activate new plans is a bad service too.
Well, I talked much about pulses – 1 minute to 1 second. You can forget the pulses too. CDMA service from TATA Indicom has introduced a plan – pay per call plan, where you can talk for 10 minutes with Rs 1. Here the pulse is 10 minutes, but you need not be worry as it’s cheap!
Making 1 second pulse and having flat rate for STD and Local is a good move. I want to see other the steps forward: 100% free roaming all over India, no change in number when you moved to other state and no change in number if you want to change the operator. You can see number two dream is 100 related with number one and number three is some what related to number two and seems to be more difficult, but not impossible.
Image credit: Fickr – Letheravensoar – Contemporary Clock
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