Hailing a cab in Mumbai was a challenge until recent times.  A few years back, I remember having to almost fall to my knees pleading snooty cabbies to agree to drive me to a destination of my choice. Choice? Huh!

The scene usually is that, if your destination happens to be on his intended route, consider yourself lucky. Else, enjoy the brutal sun on the kerb till your legs scream. If your destination is not very far off, the look you’ll get will drive you to shame. And so on that fateful day, most of the disdainful taxi drivers wouldn’t even bother to acknowledge my desperate hand aerobics, assuming I wasn’t fit to sit in their exalted vehicles. The attitude of their lesser brethren, the auto rickshaw drivers, was much more demeaning.  The time was ripe for a disruption to occur.

Disruption triggered!

Enter Ola! The scene changed drastically. Air conditioned, chauffeur driven cars of your choice at heavily competitive fares. Door-to-door service with GPS tracking and secure payment options. What more could one ask for. Today, the dust thickens on the dashboards of the kaali-peeli cabs as they wait eagerly to grab the first customer willing to compromise and avail their ramshackle excuse-in-the-name-of-a-car!

Telecom me too!

Disruption is the name of the game. Jio did an Ola in the telecom industry recently. The existing players have rudely been awakened from their stupor by Jio’s avalanche of freebies. In their scramble to retain market share, some are going ahead with mergers and acquisitions. First off the block is the Vodafone-Idea merger. The proposed merger will make the combine the largest telecom operator in India. In the merged entity, Vodafone is expected to keep 45% stake, while Idea will hold 26%. The rest is held by the public.

What’s in it for YOU?

YOU will retain your throne. Cellphone companies are expected to fall over each other to be your preferred service provider. Bask in the spotlight for a couple of years. But expect more marketing calls with the familiar line: “Ma’am, we are offering you 100 gb data free along with 1 million calls, interested?”

As far as phone services go, nothing changes. You will continue to use existing services as before. Call quality may or may not improve. My guess is as good as yours.

The merged entity will encompass all subscribers of both, Vodafone and Idea.

You can expect a price war which will save you a lot of money as compared to what you pay now.

Technology is expected to leap forward. In order to retain its combined portfolio of 400 million customers, the merged entity could accelerate adoption of 5G quickly.

Mobile service providers are expected to bleed. In their over enthusiasm to remain ahead, there maybe rampant under-cutting of services provided. You will gain from more value added services at lower or zero costs.

If you work for either Idea or Vodafone, mind your backside. When resources of two huge companies merge, downsizing is imminent, owing to surplus. Unless you are more than justifying your salary,  you could be shown the door soon enough. For all the jazz that the company managements give at present, eventually, they have to service a debt of more than 1 lakh crore. Cost rationalisation is definitely expected.

The entire merger exercise is expected to be completed by end of 2018. Until then, you as a customer can make the most of the innumerable new plans these players come up with. Enjoy the ride!


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