I have always thought about this and wondered why can’t Internet be free in India ? Broadband companies are already offering Rs 250 minimum plan and they can easily make it free by offering some value added services to the plan like installing their own browsing software which can show ads or they can show their own products as advertisement, like Airtel can push their mobile services or their set top box, infact Airtel can offer free internet if people buy their set top box or take their mobile connection.
I don’t see why this can not be done, the problem is lack of will from the big companies of India. They are like to follow rather then lead and unfortunately innovation takes the backseat when it comes to growth.
Back in 2000, when the mobile war started, all the companies focussed on mobiles as compared to broadband because it had the real money and growth potential, and they were right, but the problem now is you can’t go any cheaper then what they are offering, Mobiles have very much become a commodity now and mobile companies can’t play with the price. All the growth is now organic and the market growth saturated.
I think its a great time to start a broadband war to do something what reliance did in 2000 with their Monsoon Hungama offer, they started offering mobiles for Rs 500 which made people go crazy for it, now only if Airtel or Reliance can start offering Internet for free (BSNL is hopeless), they can offer a package like 256kbps speed + 1 GB for free per month and you have to install their software to browse the net. For bigger plans, they can also cut the prices to half and look to play the “volume” game which they know really well.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out, once people get used to internet like buying train tickets online and seeing online exam results, there is no way they will be going back and if the bigger plans are going to cost Rs 250 (512 kbps + 5 GB), they will happily opt for it.
But the problem is, as usual, companies don’t know the depth of water and everyone will wait for some one else to make the move and in this “you first” “you first” attitude, the train will be “gone”