According to a recent survey done by the research major IDC, around 21% of GSM based mobile subscribers in top 10 cities in the country will churn in favour of wireless in local loop (WLL) services. In the survey, conducted among the cellular users, as high as 45% of GSM users in Kolkata are "highly willing" to try WLL.
Thiruvananthapuram follows Kolkata with 40% and Ahmedabad with 29% with the GSM users inclined to go for WLL. In other metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, the percentage of "highly willing" respondents is at a low of 18%, 20% and 14% respectively. The willingness to try WLL is found to be least in Chandigarh where only 2.5 % of the GSM users are highly willing to try it.
"The lion share of business for WLL is expected to come from growth (new connections) and not from churns", said Parijat Chakraborty, Head-Telecom Research Group, IDC India Limited. "Cost effectiveness of the service is going to be the key motivator for WLL, however, the top-end and high profile GSM users would not follow the rank and file immediately," added Chakraborty.
The WLL market seems to be in buoyant mood as Reliance Infocomm is expected to roll out its WLL service on the 28th of this month in a big way. The impact of the same could be gauged from the fact that Reliance has signed a mega deal of Rs. 2,500 crores with Korean giants LG and Samsung for import of six-million code division multiple access (CDMA) sets for its WLL service. And to create awareness among the GSM users besides the other potential consumers, an integrated marketing communications campaign is going to be unleashed.
Already the GSM based mobile service operators are taking the WLL threat quite seriously. To meet the WLL challenge, Aircel one of the cellular operators in Tamil Nadu circle has launched its new rate plan 'Talk and Take'. This plan will offer talktime of 1,200 minutes per month for a period of five years on a payment of 19,500.
Even Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) is also not far behind in tapping the WLL market. It has made initiatives to make the service available to rural citizens also through its pilot project Grameen Sanchar Sewak (GSS). The project has been conceptualized to provide accessibility of public telephone to the rural population at their doorsteps by using Wireless in Local Loop (WLL) technology. This initiative is expected to strengthen the country rural telecom network, where currently about 30.3 per cent of total telephones in the country are in operation.