More Than Just Talk

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

All mobile users, especially from enterprises, know the

power of the mobile phone. All time connectivity, remote conferencing, multiple

connect modes and much more. Telecom services have given us a new way to work.


And yet, the margins are limited. Vanilla voice services

are not profitable. And anything premium becomes vanilla in no time. In such a

situation it is a bit surprising that the enterprise communications market is so

low key. By all accounts this market can produce high infrastructure usage and

at prices that would shore up the bottomline.

Telcos in the US, such as Cingular have schemes which make

that happen. For a minimum monthly or annual commitment, discounts are chalked

up. The company can also sponsor select employees whose cellular usage

contributes to the said commitment. Special rates on handsets are also provided.

Free mobile-to-mobile calling is also possible under certain schemes. The fact

that Cingular has a huge digital network across the country makes it possible

for it to offer such schemes. Cingular also gives its enterprise users a feature

to automate its sales force. Sales representatives can access sales call

information, place orders, receive orders, and print sales orders while at the

customer site. For businesses that need inventory management, Cingular has

mobile devices fitted with a bar-code scanning feature to take in-store

inventories quickly. The telco also boasts of a field service automation

application that has been customized for a food & beverages company. A

special handheld device from Symbol technologies and an application developed by

Countermind that runs over Cingular's GSM/GPRS network has brought significant

savings, increased customer satisfaction, and gained efficiencies for the

company, it claims.


the demand for VAS is there; now it's up to the service and content

providers to come up with innovative ideas and marketing strategies for

making the enterprise market grow

It is not that similar schemes are not present in India.

Closed user groups with special rate plans have been around for a while now,

with some rate of success. Airtel has a sales force automation application up

for a while. And so has Hutch. Customization is the key here, as every business

likes to have its own mode of tracking sales. But there is much more that is

possible. Singapore's SingTel lists solutions for supply chain, remote

monitoring and telemetry applications. Many service providers, such as Airtel,

Hutch and SingTel, have corporate group messaging services. Another service is

that of an SMS Directory that lets a company put its office directory up for

search over the network for use of authorized people only. Hutch lets an

executive post a static or dynamic message using a keyword which then other

Hutch users in his team can access. This is a cool tool for a sales manager to

post the target for the day for his team. Automatic vehicle tracking is also

possible on Hutch-great for business running on fleets of vehicles.

Some of these services are just really intelligent ways of

using the network, while some require third-party applications to be customized

for a business. Whatever, this scenario is set to grow. In India, the

value-added services market is slated to touch Rs 3,500 crore by 2010. The VAS

segment is growing at the rate of 30-40% a year. The Asia Pacific (excluding

Japan) telecom services market, which was worth over $160 bn in 2005, is

projected to exceed $170 bn in 2006, a growth rate of 7%. Clearly, demand is not

the impediment. The ball is in the court of service and content providers. They

need to come up with innovative ideas and marketing strategies for making the

enterprise market grow.

Enterprises will derive significant value through these

services. The trick is to arrive at the right application, customized the right

way, and of course delivered at the right price. Telcos need to have more

offerings-and of course get more visible with what they have.