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Do we have a choice?

Yesterday I ported my number from Idea to Airtel. When I decided to port my number, I just had two sound choices; Jio and Airtel. I had to port because Idea simply sucked, at least in my locality.

10 years ago, I was spoilt for choice. Tata Docomo, Uninor, Aircel, Vodafone/Hutch, BSNL, Tata Indicom, Reliance CDMA, Idea, you name them. Numerous plans and schemes left us bewildered. There was a lot of product differentiation. Night calls, day calls, per second, per minute, SMS packs you name it.

20 years back, a fixed BSNL landline was a government monopoly. We did not have any choice. Either pay irrational prices or settle with no phone connection.

Yesterday, when I spotted an Airtel store, there was a Jio store right across the street. It was a busy street. I opted for Airtel to avoid the pain of crossing the street. Ok, I am kidding. But you get the point, it is clearly a duopoly now. Call it crony capitalism or mere incompetence of the likes of Idea and Vodafone to match the innovative prowess of Jio and Operational Excellence of Airtel.

Today there is no confusion because we don’t really have a choice. So how do we know we are paying less or more. We are back to the BSNL era. And the Telecom Industry is again ripe for disruption. Wondering who it will be this time.

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