Tuesday, June 26, 2012

UPE Marketing Trip 2011

On the road somewhere in UPE India.

 Some river we crossed along the way. There are lots of important rivers in UPE - I'll have to find the name of this river some day. Rahul did tell me and I did write it down in my book...
 This is one of the cleanest rivers I saw in India.
 The first Vodafone shop front we came across had the promotion running. That poster under my hand is the marketing or advertising effort from Vodafone. Most of the people in UPE are uneducated and can not read or write.
 A pic of the outside of that shop.
 We crossed another bridge and I managed to take a photo of the bridge name.
 Our second shop we stopped at. That's Rahul from NSN.
 Pics of some other bridge and river

Some store

 Rural roads in UPE

 Life in the 3rd world!

 This shop did have our promotional media.

 Welcome to HOTEL WELCOME, where you will be welcome! Luckily I wasn't staying there!!!
 Another street, another shop owner - people are crawling out of everywhere - 1.3B people!

 Above is another rural road, below the outside of the "hotel" where i was going to spend a few nights.
 The "Comfort INN" - you'll see just how comfortable it was further down!
 Uninor, one of the 10 or 12 mobile competitors in India lunched their promotion, something like Rs 999 for unlimited anytime calls. - Just about free calls!
 A cow - living in shit
 Left to right:
Shop owner
Rahul (NSN)
Vodafone Sales Rep
 More real life rural views of the world in UPE.

 I knew I was the only white man for 100s of KM's - I could have just disappeared out here - nobody would ever find me - nobody would ever know where I was or how to find me.

 Cows and pigs living in shit - in human waste and by products.

 The Cell Broadcast messages our discounting solution was providing.
The message reads:
1 rupee activation and the call will be 45 paise per minute. 
That Rs 0.45 per minute for an ON-NET call - a call on the same network... i.e. Vodafone to Vodafone. so no interconnect fee.
 Vodafone rep explaining how dynamic discounting works... Notice the cash draw is open... all those many rupees...

He has written:
DDS = Dynamic Discounting Solution
There can be a 10-80% discount on a phone call. (we actually offered a 90% discount on certain cells)
So a phone call can cost between 45 - 10 Rupees - I'm sure he meant paise... a tenth of that...
10 Rupees is ZAR1.50
45 Rupees is ZAR 6.70
ETOP is 1 Rs - 15 cents ZAR
Lets just stop here and think about that for a moment...
You saw all the pictures from above... There's not much there... Its with out a doubt - RURAL....
If 90% of Indians 1.3B people live and work in rural areas...  they are price sensitive people. People who are looking for ways to save every penny!
and 50% of that 90% of people have a cellphone...
and one tenth off of that 50% is with Vodafone...
and everybody makes 1 phone call a day - which they don't... I've seen them... they make many many phone calls all the time and can't stop talking - keep in mind there are no land lines in the rural areas or not many land lines - so cellphones are the only option...
--> Back to the maths...

dimitrimallis$ bc -q
1300000000 * 0.9 ---------- 1.3B people and about 90% are price sensitive
1170000000          ---------- that leaves 1.17B price sensitive people
1170000000 / 2     ---------- lets say half of those 1.17B people are old enough to have a cellphone and have the know how to operate it
585000000            --------- that gives us 585M people that are potential cellphone users
585000000 / 10     --------- there are about 10 mobile operators in India. Airtel and Vodafone are the majority players... but lets just be extra super conservative and give each operator an equal tenth of the customer pie...
58500000              -------- that's 58.5 M subscribers per operator
58.5M * 10 rupees a call = 585M Rupees a DAY!!!
585M * 365 = 213 525 000 000 - That's 2 hundred and thirteen BILLION Rupees a year!!!
And that value was with a 80% or 90% discount on the phone call... per minute... most people can say what they need to within a minute... but many many people talk for longer... than 1 minute a day!!!

In reality, I know the real numbers...
Vodafone has 101 M PRICE SENSITIVE subscribers... that number excludes the people who can afford contracts... for simplicity lets just double that amount per year - and that's still conservative. 427050000000
Even if you take off a zero for the Rupee / Paise confusion... its still a ton of money!
 Back to our shop owner... who has 10 other operators SIM cards in his shop window. The way the economy in India works, since the people are so price sensitive... is... there is no really loyalty... 
Each network will send their reps out to all the stores in their regions... and push their product...
So what does the educated shop owner tell the uneducated villager...
He tells the uneducated villager that the best network and the network they should go with is... the network that is giving him the biggest intensive...
This is how it works... for each subscriber that activates a new SIM card, the shop owner gets a cut of the activation fee. This is somewhere along the lines of 10Rs per activation.

I know what your thinking... but consider this...
There are so many people...
but there are so many shops selling to these people
and there are so many competitors...

So it truly is... survival of the fittest!

 And here we can see some of the streets I was talking about...

 A different handset displaying the Cell Broadcast message... Or this might have been a USSD message...
 Click on the above photo... Count all the different cellphone operator SIM cards... That's a lot of competition!
But wait... there's more - trip SIM phones... That's 3 SIM cards in one handset...

 See the THREE call buttons... that so that the subscriber can make a phone call on the operator offering the lowest price at that time... That's cut throat competition!

 The man next to me (my left) is an uneducated villager who has just taken up the Vodafone DDS pilot offer. The man next to him is the shop owner.
 Some Vodafone advert in the market place.

 The time of day has changed and the area has changed... and we see the discount has changed.

Middle of nowhere...
 Middle of nowhere...
 Middle of nowhere...
 Middle of nowhere... that was the car we used to transport our selves around.
 Many of the shop owners were friendly and got us masala tea or masala coffy or coke.

 They insisted I try some sort of weird specialty food. It was a leaf wrapping what felt like red candy or sugar, but it was really really hard to chew on and very bitter. 

 Another happy customer

 The time was around 10pm an we were nearing the sites we had to visit for the day.

 This was the one of the last ones for the day.
 Enjoy the video

 Like I said... I could have just disappeared there and nobody would ever know. No one would know where to find me.

 Another video
 A subscriber registering for DDS.

 A shop owner getting the DDS education
 A supposedly holly cow
 Cows almost have more rights than people
 Its like drive through grocery shopping.
 The sheets on my bed at the comfort INN.
Notice how NOT clean they are!
 Even from a distance you can see how dirty they are...
My head... rested on those pillows...
 The shower and basin
 The toilet with "water paper"
 The electric geyser. Please click the photo and take a closer look... Water plus mains electricity...
 If you click on the above picture, you'll see pad-bolts to lock the door. Much better than my first night in Mumbai.
 Second floor in the corner...
 The door form the outside... I wanted to make sure it couldn't be opened without a key... Unlike what happened to me in Mumbai on my first night.
 Four (deep cycle) batteries, feeding an inverter giving mains. The whole of India has intermittent power outages.
 The hotel was behind the train station, so ever 30minutes there would be the loud sound of a train passing by. Very difficult to sleep in conditions like that.
 These are some views form the roof of the hotel.

 pigs running around the dirt and grime of the train station.

 You can see what I saw, know a little bit about what I know, but you can't smell what I smelt! :(

 Somewhere on the road back into Lucknow.
 Lots of nothing.

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