Will Photon Max Wi-Fi help in increasing data subs for Tata Docomo?

Today, Tata Docomo has launched Photon Max Wi-Fi, a high speed Internet Wi-Fi device with free national roaming. The product will be launched in 300 cities by January 2013 and the services will be available across 5,000 cities in 19 telecom circles.

Presently, Tata Docomo has launched CDMA version of Photon Max Wi-Fi and plans are to launch GSM 3G version very soon says Elango Thambiah, president operations – mobility, Tata Teleservices.

Photon Max Wi-Fi can connect upto 5 devices through USB slot of any laptop, car music system, DTH, power plug, car charger and battery bank for creating a Wi-Fi zone. The device is powered by Qualcomm Gobi with dual processor technology ensuring faster and reliable connectivity for a superior multimedia experience.

Existing customers of Tata Docomo Photon can upgrade their services to Wi-Fi by simply buying a new device at just Rs 1,999. Customers can opt from wide range of Wi-Fi unlimited plans starting from Rs 650 for a 3 GB unlimited data to Rs 1,500 for a 15 GB unlimited data.

With the launch of Photon Max Wi-Fi, the war between operators for getting wireless data subscribers is increasingly becoming tougher with each passing day. Tata Teleservices will get stiff competition from CDMA players like RCOM and MTS and also from GSM 3G players like Bharti Airtel, Idea, Vodafone, Aircel and BSNL.

Tata Teleservices claims to be the leader in data card (GSM+CDMA) with over 40 percent market share in large screen. In CDMA, RCOM leads the race in wireless data subscribers. In toto, the company has 34.1 million subscribers of which 9.1 million are 3G subscribers.

MTS has an advantage as the company has announced commercial rollout of 3GPLUS or Evolution-Data Optimized (EV-DO) Rev B Phase II in 500+ cities across 9 circles i.e. Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kolkata, Uttar Pradesh (W) and West Bengal. With this launch, the company plans to increase its non-voice revenue from 33 percent to 55 percent thereby improving on its data revenue.

With the launch of 3GPLUS, MTS offers data speeds of up to 9.8 Mbps in 500+ cities whereas Tata Docomo offers Rev B in only 15 cities. MTS has also launched MBlaze Ultra Wi-Fi Dongle and plans are to launch a range of smartphones in the range of Rs 6,000 to Rs 12,000 supporting EV-DO Rev B Phase II by the end of 2013.

MTS offers MBlaze Ultra device at Rs 1,299 for both prepaid and postpaid customers. The tariff plans are: 5 GB unlimited for Rs 798 (prepaid) and Rs 700 in (postpaid); 10 GB unlimited for Rs 999 (prepaid) and Rs 875 in (postpaid); 15 GB unlimited for Rs 1,298 (prepaid) and Rs 1,199 in (postpaid); and 20 GB unlimited for Rs 1,498 (prepaid) and Rs 1,399 in (postpaid). All these schemes are valid for a month.

So, in order to increase data subscribers, Tata Docomo has to increase its Rev B from 15 cities to at least 500 cities to give a tough fight to MTS and also GSM operators. Apart from this, the company has to be aggressive in terms of marketing and provide better quality of service vis-a-vis its CDMA and GSM competitors.

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