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    Rabble Rousing Random Ramblings by S Jagadish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

    March 21, 2006

    Pricing missed calls and a rant on phone numbers

    Kaps wrote sometime last week about a perhaps uniquely Indian concept - the missed call as a means of communication.

    If the study he quotes is true and 20-25% of all phone calls on the mobile networks are missed calls, aren't the telecom companies missing out on a potentially huge source of revenue? Why do we rely on missed calls? Because we don't see the point in spending one or two rupees on a phone call which will not last more than 10-20 seconds and don't want to send that SMS, which also costs around a rupee.

    So why can't the telecom companies (Aircel, Airtel, BSNL, Hutch, Spice etc. etc.) come up with a pricing scheme which works on the basis of the number of seconds? Given that the telecom companies would always prefer to collect a full one minute's charges even when the call has only lasted 40 seconds, what they can do is to charge on the basis of number of seconds for just the first 30 seconds. By doing so, they could potentially create revenue out of those lakhs of missed calls!

    After all this privatization of the telecom sector, one of the things I really miss is the ability to figure out the locality from where a caller is calling or where I am calling. Until 4-5 years ago, when BSNL was the monopoly as far as the fixed/land line service was concerned, it was almost trivial to establish the location of the caller/called. For e.g., in Madras, if the phone number started with 467, 497, 847, 498 etc. it was very likely that the location was in/around Mylapore, Alwarpet, RK Salai etc. A similar pattern could be established for other areas, such as Mambalam/T Nagar, Adayar/Thiruvanmiyur etc. etc.

    Now, with the likes of Airtel, Tata etc. also into the landline service business, it is [I think] impossible to associate the phone number with the location. I don't think these companies provide directory inquiry services on their websites. That does make it tough to figure out who is calling, especially when you keep getting phone calls selling you credit cards, insurance policies, holiday resort packages, jobs, club memberships etc. etc.

    Rambled @ 10:29 AM

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    4 comment(s)

    Nice thought, but I have some concerns about the same. If people have been using missed call like a signal mechanism to convey some predetermined message, they would continue to do so.

    Telco's would be earning money through short calls from wrong calls and if you look at the % of calls terminating within a minute, it can still be huge. So if the charging frequency is 30 secs, consumers stand to benefit and Telco's might lose out as they might have earned significant money on less-than-30-sec calls which were rounded off to 1 minute billing. As a consumer, I would welcome such a move. But telco's might not rush to announce this. SMS looks the best way to convey information / signals / msgs which can be conveyed thru missed call. SMS might not be possible if one the phones is a landline. the no. of landlines supporting SMS is still very less in India.

    By Blogger Kaps (Mar 21, 2006, 11:07:00 AM)  

    kaps: Predetermined message, yes. But frequently it also helps to *speak* along with the signal being sent. You do have a point in the context of wrong calls costing the companies if they turned out to be wrong calls for which the companies would get a full one rupee's worth. It perhaps depends on the number of calls being cut off within 30 seconds. SMS maybe value, but sometimes you need to convey a fair amount. It may spill over to two msgs ... and then you wonder if you should have made that phone call after all!

    By Blogger Jagadish (Mar 21, 2006, 11:50:00 AM)  

    i have a rant and i get missed calls and i dont know how to check them

    By Anonymous Anonymous (Mar 11, 2009, 1:32:00 AM)  

    Anonymous - Look at your mobile phone for the number!

    By Blogger Jagadish (Mar 11, 2009, 2:16:00 PM)  

    I'd prefer if you posted comments with your real name to add more credibility to your opinions. Obviously comments containing offensive and unsuitable language will be deleted. The opinions in the comments are your own views. You are welcome to provide a URL to your own blog, especially if it discusses issues you find here.

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