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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sarin: Signs of Losing the Plot

The past few days of celebrations seems to have loosened the tongue of Arun Sarin and he is making a few comments of late that probably will come back to haunt him.

#1 Tongue Slip

His repeated and continual statements that Voda has paid a premium for control for Hutchison Essar and therefore Essar’s rights as a minority will be limited. Majority owners of Voda associates in the USA (Verizon), France (Vivendi), Poland (various) and China (Chinese Government) will be dreaming for a copy of the Voda-Essar shareholder agreement – if it ever materializes. I think Voda is playing a double bluff with Essar and instead really hope that they exit the venture.

#2 Tongue Slip
"In China, government holds 85% and while the general public holds the rest. We have 3.25% only. But we gave them our experience, technology and expertise in 3G."
It appears that the Chinese have gone down a completely different road to Voda in choosing TD-SCDMA technology for its experimental 3G network. Either the Chinese have ignored Voda’s advice or Voda have advised not to go down the WCDMA route.

#3 Tongue Slip
“CDMA is like spaghetti. There are too many parts to it. Why do you need it when you have such a clean global standard like GSM? For someone who is already on CDMA, it makes sense to graduate to GSM and may be get out of CDMA eventually. The short answer to that is no. We will not consider CDMA.”

Ouch, what does this say to Verizon Wireless? Who is going to be the first person to ask Arun:
“Seeing that you believe Verizon Wireless is implementing the wrong technology and you have only limited rights as a minority when are you going to exit? And also seeing that you don’t believe in paying premiums to minorities, how will you get top dollar when you exit?”
It is also factually incorrect: CDMA technology is now embedded within the GSM technology roadmap and an important part of delivering broadband wireless. The pure 3GPP2 route (CDMA) has actually less spaghetti strands than 3GPP (GSM/WCDMA).

Obviously the comment was aimed squarely at Reliance Communications, the #2 in the Indian market, but will have reverberations around the world. I expect the Voda PR army is already in damage control mode.

The PR people are probably still busy dealing with the fallout from his slagging of Wimax technology and call for the GSM community to get their act together and speed up development of LTE technology. I'm sure the CDMA people in San Diego have something in their locker which could be developed much faster and easier than the fighting over future patent revenues that seems to take most time in technology development in the GSM/3GPP world.