T hough radio trunking did well in 1998-99, it was unable to
repeat the same performance in last fiscal. Unfavourable government policies led
to the closure of many PMRTS operators and a few surviving operators are
demanding some concessions for revival. The total installed base of handsets
stood at 19,269. The number of total handsets sold was 7,269, showing —9
percent growth. In 1998-99, the PMRTS operators had sold 8,000 handsets.
The “C” category cities have failed to pick up
business and operators are apprehensive about the future there.
The total radio trunking market in 1999-00 is estimated at Rs
29.75 crore. Services accounted for around 62 percent (Rs 18.49 crore), whereas
handsets accounted for the rest.
Voice & Data has gone a step forward this time by ranking
the players in radio trunking segment. The ranking was done for both handset
providers as well as PMRTS providers. In the service provider segment the
ranking was done on the basis of number of subscribers as on 31 March 2000,
whereas in the handset providers the ranking was done on the basis of the number
of handsets sold.
Procall, with 5,102 subscribers, led the service segment
followed by OmniTalk and Arya Group, which had 3,977 and 3,594 subscribers,
respectively. In the handset market, Motorola was way ahead with a market share
of 69.2 percent.
The cost of a handset varied between Rs 12,000 to Rs 25,000.
Motorola handsets were ideally priced at around Rs 15,000 whereas Simoco was
priced higher at Rs 25,000. According to sources, the Government has passed the
notification for reducing duty on the handset from 52 percent to 5 percent. That
is a welcome sign for the revival of the industry.
Some of the other positive measures that the Government is
planning to take are allowing PSTN connectivity, conversion of citywide licence
to statewide licence, and interconnectivity of sites. If these are implemented,
the radio trunking industry is bound to become more viable. The PSTN
connectivity will help in the emergency use of the radio trunking handset and
will solve many of the service providers’ problems. The conversion of licence
from citywide to statewide and interconnectivity will lead to increase in the
area of operation whereby transport fleets and taxi fleets can effectively
utilize the service.
It will also help in increasing the subscriber base and
making it a necessity to go for digital technologies like iDEN, MPT 1327, and
TETRA that will come very soon. The digital technology will help in opening a
host of value-added services that will transform the service from a voice
communication tool to more of a data tool.
The increase in number of applications will make radio trunking an important
gadget for all corporates.
Click here for 1998-99 Performance of Radio