Gokul Blog — A conversation on VoIP, IMS, Cisco and Just about Anything

Deeper analysis of VoIP

In Service Providers we don’t trust

Posted by tggokul on December 3, 2006

There was a quite a flurry of outrage in the blogging community last week when Verizon announced its deal with Youtube wherein for $15 a month, Verizon customers could download selected Youtube videos to their mobile phones. The general feeling among the blogosexperts ( My new name for Blogging experts. Or should I call them blogosexperts 2.0?, but then I digress ) was that this was ridiculously expensive and it was getting back to the days of walled garden (when the Dinos ruled the world).

This topic makes me reminisce about Airtel’s ( One of India’s leading Telecom Service Provider. They have also signed a pact with Walmart lately) launch of Voice Mail application. A few years ago, Airtel came with the idea of providing Voice Mail service to its mobile customers. Sounds good right? They advertised this launch in such a way that consumers were lead to believe that they were getting this service for free (Damn those marketing guys). The truth was it was just free for one week and consumers would get charged after that period. Many people fell for this age old trap and were sucked into paying money ( I think it was 100 Rs equivalent to 2$ a month).

When people started realizing this, they started cancelling their subscription and the Voice Mail application fell on its face. . There was such a cascading effect that people refused to subscribe to this even when they were fully aware of how much they were going to get charged ( The thought among consumers was that Service Providers would screw them through some other means). This feature launched by other Service Providers was also a failure. So when the service providers found out that nobody was willing to pay money for this, they made it free. But there was so much bitterness and mistrust that people refused to get it even then. Telecom experts still say this was the most unpopular service ever launched in India.

The point I am trying to make is, this very good service failed because somebody got greedy and killed the golden goose. (To be fair to Airtel they learnt from their mistake and their subsequent launches of other applications were very sucessful.). So Verizon, be aware that you might be killing a potential market because you decided to be a little opportunistic today. We want to trust you. Act like you want to be trusted.

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