This is enormously impressive stuff.
Update: Okay, we have some details on the structure of the Indian market and how competition is evolving here. It seems Reliance has a WLL licence and is not allowed to offer full mobility to its customers. (Essentially we have a situation where you have a mobile phone in your local area, but for regulatory reasons you are not allowed to use it elsewhere). Because of this, it has paid rather less for its spectrum than have GSM operators. The GSM operators claim that they will keep their customers because they can offer greater mobility and also SMS messages. Plus they are sowing as much fear, uncertainty and doubt as possible, and are stalling on things like interconnection agreements with existing cellular networks, although the law requires that they have such agreements.
Two observations here: Firstly, Reliance have chosen a technical standard that can provide full mobile phone service. In fact it is a 3G standard, significantly superior to GSM. If this system gets a lot of customers, as seems likely, then consumer pressure to allow these phones to be used to their full capabilities will be overwhelming. Secondly, there is no reason whatsoever why GSM operators should have a monopoly on SMS. CDMA also supports SMS, and interoperability with GSM SMS is no problem at all. (Australia has a mixture of CDMA and GSM networks, and SMS interoperability works fine). It seems that the GSM operators are trying to defend their situation through regulatory interia and obstruction. In the long term, that isn't going to work.
Finally, I love this
Not surprisingly, the cellular operators are incensed by this idea. They point out that all the players are either offering GSM or WiLL services. Says a senior mobile company executive: “There is already so much competition that there is no logic in having more players. All this means is that WiLL operators will be able to take full mobile licences at dirt cheap rates.”
There is so much competition in fact that allowing more competition would be bad. Who knows, it might even mean lower prices for consumers and a reduction in profits for the existing oligopolistic operators. Indeed, that would be a catastrophe. Yes, there is far too much competition.