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Sambhar Mafia - Cooked To Kill!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Skype the Parents!

That’s what I have been doing during the last few days. My parents are fast adopters of technology and they have been proving it time and again. Based on my repeated requests they have decided to get hooked to Skype. They are even considering signing up for SkypeOut. Even thought my parents are on a Dial-up plan, the voice quality was quite good.

Circa 1997: VSNL had this concept called a student account and they were offering a 1-year plan for Rs. 500. This plan was open only for school students and I somehow managed to pile on with another friend to access the Net thru this package. The email ID’s allotted by VSNL used to be something like xyz@giasmda.vsnl.net.in . The email account was a text only account.

The Death Of Distance (revisited)

Circa 1999: International Calls to the US (from India) used to cost upwards of Rs. 55 and there used to be differential pricing during peak and off-peak hours. I guess they have done away with the differential pricing now. Given that international calls would burn a hole in their pocket, people had to wait for their overseas friend / relative to make a call to India. With the arrival of VoIP services like Sify calls to US / UK / Singapore cost not more than Rs. 4 / 5 per minute. Neighbourhood STD / ISD booth operators have started offering VoIP services thru which you can call US / UK / S’pore for as low as Rs. 3 (that too from the comfort of your home). The demarcation between a local call, STD call and an ISD call are slowly starting to fade away.

One fallout of cheaper rates is that you can no longer cite expensive rates as a reason for not calling your long lost friend! You need to cook up some other reason.

Consumer mindset

It is often said that consumers allocate a percentage of their earnings towards telephone expenses and if the telecom rates fall, consumers will speak more to utilize their budget. In other words, consumers don’t cut their telephone expenses drastically, even if there is a fall in the rates. However no budgets might apply for people in post-engagement / pre-marriage mode :-)


  • i use skype out to call my folks in toronto...costs me exactly a rupee..slight lag but very good quality.

    By Blogger maverick, at 1:24 PM  

  • Oh yes! Skype is really cool! Very clear lines! I have used it too!

    In India nowadays, everybody has broadband connection. My cousin at Motorola was given a broadband conn. by his company. Commercially also, like you said it is really cheap.

    By Blogger G3, at 4:36 PM  

  • Kaps

    post engagement / pre marriage - u seem to talk like a veteran there. anyhting cooking.....


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:55 PM  

  • @Thuglak,

    Correct-aa Cho Vaelai parkureengalae. I thought of finishing with a punch...and hence added that line. Don't read too much into it. Khatham Khatham.

    By Blogger Kaps, at 5:59 PM  

  • kaps,
    Yes, the STD rates have come down but local rates? Gone up i am aftraid.. what with reduction in free calls, call units etc...

    i am told in US intra city calls are free...

    In India, actually calling a mobile from a telephone booth will burn a bigger hole in your pocket than a cigarette(i think its 2 bucks for a 45 second call). Atrocious..

    By Blogger Prabu Karthik, at 6:00 PM  

  • in india call rates are dropping esp cell rates so wat do companies do to increase ARPU? they cheat seriously, ive known ppl whove been billed for calls they dint make n prepaid users being charges twice the amount per call sometimes. but consumers r not idiots, they get these post paid schemes and then rake up a bill of RS15000 or so and then change operator, if the company says theyll go to court, these ppl r fine, theyll probably have to pay 15000 10 yrs later...not today so big deal.

    By Blogger ada-paavi!!!!, at 7:23 PM  

  • Haha ha, well said Srivatsan!! Reliance Info immediately came to my mind.

    I too had an experience of cheating the phone company so to say. I had an airtel connection and when I went to Kerala from Coimbatore, I sent a lot of SMS (nearly 100) to my folks in Cbe over 1 week. The SMS was free for me but didn't knew it will be charged at Rs. 3 per SMS if I am roaming. Well, when I came back, all my prepaid amount was gone and when I again debited it with Rs. 331, immediately it became 0. I called up the company and they said you have to pay Rs. 1500 or something to get your phone reactivated. I asked the guy what to do and he said, well, just get a new connection :-)

    By Blogger Peak Day Blues, at 10:52 PM  

  • LOL... yes, people arent idiots.. i know how guys in my college got a RIM mobile, used that for high speed internet till the charge came to around 25000 rupees (He would call ISD calls every day from it!!)

    Anyway, this is a competitive world and only we the public should be aware of everthing, how we get cheated by the companies and how to cheat them back!

    I don know why, but i couldnt use the skype thing with my parents in India (They use a dialup). the calls arent continous and i had tough time with that. :-(

    By Blogger Chez, at 9:27 AM  

  • I pray God everyday that the phone rates come down by atleast 50%. I dunno why making an internet to phone call to India is ridiculously expensive.

    pre-marriage/post-engagement mode -- well said. have any tips on how to reduce it :)

    By Blogger saranyan, at 11:14 AM  

  • The demarcation between a local call, STD call and an ISD call are slowly starting to fade away.

    This is Globalisation.

    By Anonymous birendra, at 12:56 PM  

  • truly globalisation!

    By Anonymous wimpy, at 5:57 PM  

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