Showing posts with label telecommunication. Show all posts
Showing posts with label telecommunication. Show all posts

16 February 2021

How Two Bhutanese Telecoms are Unfaithful to GNH

There were times we didn't have mobile phones. It came and changed our lives. We are grateful to BMobile for leading that change. 

In the early 2000s, the mobile service was at least five times more expensive than today. Without smartphones, the purpose of phones was limited to talking and sending SMS, yet it was so exciting. Bhutan Telecom enjoyed the monopoly and exploited the people's curiosity. The fascinated people didn't realise that they have been robbed until Tashi Cell came by to help us understand that it could be done at a lesser cost. For that, we remain eternally grateful. 

However, now the two telecoms seem to have ganged up and decided to watch each other's backs. Their products are almost identical. And they have chosen to misplace their values at the same time. Of the several things that don't seem right for a business in Bhutan, the following two top the list of reasons why they are so unfaithful to the core values of GNH. 

1. Paradoxical Data Package Costing

It's good that we now have various small data packages to choose from unlike in the early days where the smallest voucher we could buy was Nu.300. However, the way the packages are priced is shockingly so pro-rich. 

For Nu. 99 you get 1330 MB of data, and for Nu. 699 you get 22,370 MB. Do the maths. If you can pay seven times the price at once, you get 20 times the data. They may argue that it's a typical bulk discount scheme, but for Bhutan, such a paradox is insulting the core value of GNH. 

Bhutan TelecomTashi Cell
Rate (Nu.)Data Volume (MB)MB/Nu.Rate (Nu.)Data Volume (MB)MB/Nu.

Obviously, it's about who can and cannot pay. If you can afford to pay more, you get it cheaper. We want to rain where there is water. If you can't afford it, you have to pay more. The margin is significant enough to raise the question; why can't they share that offer with those who have no means to opt for bigger packages, if so much can be spared? 

It's much like the Duty-Free shop where the prominent people in society with all the means are given handsome discount quota. In contrast, the people who desperately need these discounts are selectively deprived—such a paradox. 

2. Unlimited Plans to Ruin a Generation 

The cheapest data package on offer with our telecoms is the unlimited plans sold at Nu.55 by BT and Nu.57 by TCell. But the catch is it's effective between 1 AM to 7 AM, the prime sleeping hours. If I have no other means, and I get unlimited downloads at night that's right for my pocket, I might as well put aside my sleep. Thus, thousands of people, mostly youths, are sleepless every night, ripping the benefit of this misguided scheme and missing on real things happening during the day. We are creating a generation of strange young people, who haven't met their parents for days because when they are awake, their parents are asleep. And vice versa. 
TCell Sleepless Scheme

BT Sleepless Scheme

When the telecom sales team sat to brainstorm and invent this 'brilliant' product, have they considered for once what would happen if their own children fall prey? When they watch the night traffic soaring, they see the money flowing in but do they put faces and stories to those numbers? It reminds me of the movie, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008). I don't have to explain this. 

A still from The Boy in Striped Pyjamas

My friends are petitioning against this scheme. Here is the link. I am signing the petition. We need you to sign and put pressure on the telecoms to do some soulsearching. 

There is a book called Proposed GNH of Business by The Centre for Bhutan Studies (CBS). The summary of the book on BOOKNESE reads;

The idea of incorporating GNH values into business was first proposed by Prime Minister (2013-2018) Dasho Tshering Tobgay in 2015. He mentioned that the current business model of overemphasizing profit maximization and increasing shareholder values at the cost of environment and community was unsustainable. He expressed the need to recognize and manage these costs and risk and called for integrating GNH values into the business operation. Essentially, it meant measuring the success of a business by its ability to serve, facilitate, and engage with its stakeholders. -

22 July 2011

Google+ and Facebook

If Facebook were a country, it would be the third most populated country with over 750 million active citizens, beating even the United States. It gives me pain to realize the fact that a man younger than me would be ruling that country, yes I am hinting at Mark Zuckerberg. One crazy idea made all the difference!
The King!

But I am not alone in the list of people who envy Zuckerberg. Some countries blocked Facebook, many companies followed, and so many offices tried. But it surprised me when I found even Google was jealous. But I never thought Google will add a “+” and join the war against Facebook. Google+, is nothing new- another surprise, but has acquired over 18 million users even before it opened to public. That is over 30 times the population of Bhutan.
If + could make a difference...
With Facebook blocked in so many places Google+ is going to have party. When I joined Google+ last Sunday I was very lonely, so I told Pema Gyamtsho, who invited me there, that Google+ is a brand new bar with different brands of wine and whisky, but all our friends are still drinking in the old bar called Facebook. It felt very lonely among 18 million people after having spent years with 750 million people. 

27 April 2011

Breaking the Monopoly

When a fresh roll of cable stretched across Bajothang last week , everybody wondered why TT Cable is changing their functioning cable, but it was a mistake- Damchen Cable was making its entry into the area.Rumors of 50 channels and free connection is already in the air. Every other family I met is waiting to switch cable, but I don't want to do that. I want TT Cable to increase the channels and enhance the signal clarity, which they say is already in the pipeline- without having to ask. One of the best changes in the town!

I still remember how BMobile ragged us before the entry of Tashi Cell, how the way bankers treat clients changed with arrival of new banks, how quality of newspapers improved and price decreased,... how life changed for good at the break of monopoly.

But BPC's monopoly over power in the country may take a long time to break, and for so long we may have to tolerate frequent blackouts. In countries like Singapore, a teenager has never experienced a power blackout in his entire life but in Bhutan a month old babe has felt it over ten times already.

20 October 2010

B Mobile vs Tashi Cell as Dual SIM Mobile Comes in...

I was thankful to B Mobile when it first came in the market. I didn't mind paying Nu.600 for the sim card and loading Nu.300 voucher even when I didn't have enough money to buy my shoe. I even found Nu.5 per minute cheap, though I didn't appreciate it being deducted even when the line gets disconnected a few seconds later.

But it all changed when Tashi Cell came to break the B Mobile monopoly. Three months of free talk time, Sim card free and rate as low as Nu.3 per minute, which is again divided into three units. That's when I realized how cheap it could be. I instantly used Tashi Cell but problem was all my contacts used the senior service and it was not fair for them as B Mobile charged higher on calls to Tashi Cell.

The two cellular services lived along in the market for last few years and Tashi Cell couldn't gain as many users as B Mobile had since people already have a sim. Over the years both tired different strategies to market their product. And by any count Tashi Cell was generous, may be it still had to multiply its subscribers three folds to catch up with the senior rival. 

My Dual SIM Mobile using both B&T
Now with the dual sim mobile everybody is going for two sims, one of B Mobile and other Tashi Cell. And it won't take much before Tashi Cell gets equal number of subscribers as B Mobile and that's when occasional smartness could mean huge turnover.

I used Tashi Cell more when they offered Losar bonuses and these days when B Mobile's Power Voucher came in I am using B Mobile more... We have a choice now, smarter choice!