The closest experience as an alternative to personal interaction is face-to-face communication. And sensing a strong demand for such kind of communication services, Ahmedabad-based SIS has recently launched video phone services on the BSNL Broadband Network. TelecomTiger takes you through an interaction with, Pillappan Karuppiah, GM, Sales and Marketing, SIS.
Q1. BSNL’s recently launched video call services over 3G network, came under scanner of the government security agencies. Do you apprehend that your video phone services may also come under similar scrutiny?
Ans: No, I do not think our video phone services will meet similar fate. BSNL has taken respectable amount of time to decide on this particular venture, I am quite sure that they would have analyzed from their end to ensure that it falls within the paradigm of the various government norms.
Q2. Pertaining to 3G services controversy, the issue as pointed out by the government security agencies was that of the difficulty in monitoring the real time of such services. Is real time monitoring possible in your case?
Ans: Our services will be built in with lawful interception as defined by ITU for a telecom company. Moreover all the norms made by Govt. of India for the LI implementation will be adhered to. In fact it was one of the pre-requisites from BSNL side. We have committed to provide LI for certain number of lines, as required by BSNL, for 8 Govt. agencies at any point of time. Moreover we have given an assurance to BSNL that in future too any requirment for LI as defined by Govt. agencies will be adhered to.
Q3. You have positioned your service on the affordability aspect. But do you think you will be able to convince subscribers about the initial upfront cost required to be made in procuring terminals?
Ans: In my opinion, the initial cost should not be considered as an entry barrier. For example: If you opt for a feature-rich mobile handset, it will cost one from anything above Rs.10,000, which is exactly the price we are toying with for the introductory low end devices. Therefore, I definitely do not think the price is a factor to worry about.
Secondly, we are looking to come out with various kinds of options, including outright purchase, lease finance option and rental option for the handsets. People from can choose the correct option that suits their pocket.
Q4. Since this is a new service, so one believes the person at the other end also requires similar device. Hence initially, it might be difficult for the consumers at both ends to possess these devices. How can you work out on that?
Ans: Let me put it this way, if I have equipment with a video call capability, which also supports calls to landline and mobile phones, the problem is partly addressed. As of now we can offer only calls to international landline and mobiles. But if interconnectivity between IP and other domestic landline and mobile telecom networks are allowed by Govt. in future, the service would receive a great boost.
Furthermore, we may come out with promotional offers for selling equipments in pairs initially. While things are still at a preliminary stage many such options could be thought of to overcome the initial issue of low installation base.
Q5. It is a known fact that video communication over internet comes associated with certain overheads in terms of data transfer capability and this leads to inferior end-user experience. Technology-wise how have you ensured that your subscribers will not face this problem?
Ans: We are coming up with latest technology that can adjust the frame transfer rates depending on the quality of the bandwidth available.
Moreover BSNL has a big network with good bandwidth quality. BSNL has assured of all support for delivering best quality of bandwidth for the service.
Q6. We understand BSNL has a very good copper network, but even then we you access BSNL’s internet services, when the server is down you don’t get the committed speed. So during such scenario, your service may not work up to the quality as desired.
Ans: All services have some factors beyond the control of the operator. The recent undersea cable cut which resulted in downtime for various ISPs is one such instance.
We can try our best to reduce the degree of problems by installing Carrier Grade equipments for maximum possible uptime, which we have done. BSNL too will take lot of care for this service as ultimately it will be customer facing organization. Any problem due to circumstances beyond control will be addressed promptly with the state of art NOC we are setting up and with the co-operation of BSNL.
Q7. What is the uptime speed that BSNL has promised?
Ans: We have given some carrier grade commitments to BSNL and even BSNL has given us some commitments.
Q8. How do you plan to convince the segment of users who are used to using the PC medium for video-based communications?