Bharti Airtel, the world’s 4th largest telecom operator will go operational in Sri Lanka on January 12th. I’m sure you would have drowned in their adverting by now. If you listen carefully you’ll hear the occational Dialog ad firing back. The talk among those in the know is that at least one smaller mobile operator (I won’t name names) will be snuffed out. The current major players are expected to be badly fried. The consensus is that the Indian telecom giant can easily out spend the competition (Airtel’s investment in Sri Lanka is said to be $200 million) and bring mobile rates down. More importantly it can out bribe its way out of political obstacles paid for by the competition. They are also said to pack a lot of high end local talent poached from Sri Lanka’s best companies.
Yet the most disturbing part is vengeful glee in the eyes of Dialog customers with customer service horror stories. I’m not a Dialog customer in any way though I do know quite a few disgruntled people who are. They seem to relish the idea that Dialog will take a beating. At a personal level I am concerned for friends at Dialog who are worried about their jobs. At the same time there are those joined Airtel from “stable” companies as a major career boast. Is wishing them success hypocritical? Not that they need my wishes. I want to avoid getting caught in the social crossfire of a telecom war.
Nothing is of course certain. There are plenty of Goliath vs small Goliath stories for those who care to Google it. In the end it boils down to who supplies the least hassle free service at an affordable cost. Naturally the combatants will have to play very dirty. At least there’s be a non-violent war in the news, for those who are willing to look away from the blood being spilt.