Monday, February 25, 2008

Liberalization or my new concept ?????

Liberalization, as defined by wikipedia, refers to a relaxation of previous government restrictions, usually in areas of social or economic policy. Indians know how life has changed since we opened up our markets in the early 90s. From being a country that had the good old Hindusthan Ambassador, the lovely Premier Padmini & the loveable Maruthi 800 as the choice of transport on 4 wheels we have moved to a deluge of cars from the finest of car makers with prices ranging from 2.5 lacs to above 4 crores. Buying a packet of biscuits is no longer easy as there seem to be a 101 options in the shelves with the end result that I walk away from a shop after having picked more biscuits than I need. I think you get the drift. But nothing beats trying to buy mobile phones these days.
I remember the time when mobile phones came out in the 90’s. That was when pagers were the rage and just about everyone had one clipped to his waist. The advent of mobile telephony in India ushered in a revolution of brick sized boxes masquerading as communications devices and spelt the doom of pagers. Of course call rates were so sky high that often incoming calls were so much more expensive than outgoing calls. To be fair to the phones they weren’t all that bad, some of them had the snake game that kinda provided entertainment. Its just that they followed the SUV policy of bigger is better …..

With increasing competition among service providers, we now have call rates as cheap as 10 paise a minute or if youre lucky, calls to other customers on the same network might be free. From being a luxury, phones have become a necessity with just about everybody having one or more. When I had to pick up a new phone in the summer of 2007 I did a bit of research and to be honest was surprised at the number of phones available on the market. I ended up picking the k750i after a lot of spadework and I havent regretted the purchase once.
Just last week I picked up the latest issue of a mag focussed on mobile phones. I flipped to the back and was looking through the phones currently available and my jaw dropped when I realised there are 266 different phones for sale right now (Feb ‘08). How in the world do you decide on which phone best suits your requirement if you land up in a shop with cash in your hand and not too much idea about what you want? Which leads me to conclude that a majority of people will end up picking a phone that doesn’t exactly meet their requirements and as a result they will be unhappy with their choice. Imagine a generation of frustrated mobile users who wont change their phones even if they don’t want/need their current phone cause they suspect (rather rightly I venture to guess) that they will end up picking a wrong phone again. Who suffers in the end - mobile manufacturers.
Whoever talks about all this in economics textbooks while they extol the virtues of liberalization? Maybe its time for the world to embrace my idea of ‘liberafrustration’.

1 comment:

Boogerwormie said...

What are mobile phones for? To make/recieve calls and to SMS. Thats it. Rest is nonsense. Any phone will suffice.