It was Sunday morning about seven o’clock. It looked like I was the first who got up that early in the house. It is not because I am an early riser on Sundays, it is because I was eagerly waiting for the ‘live’ tennis action from Melbourne Park. So, to accompany the amusement of watching tennis matches from the Grand Slam of Asia-Pacific, I fixed myself a breakfast of two Cheddar spread sandwiches and a tumblerful of steaming aspartame-sweetened tea. Afterwards, as I planted my buns on the couch trying to sit nicely before my recently bought jumbo LCD-TV (as the old and the smaller LCD-TV had to serve in my bedroom to replace the even older 21-inch-CRT-TV which was on the fritz and beyond repair at a reasonable cost) I suddenly heard my fax machine receiving a transmission. Heck I don’t even remember when the last time I received a fax transmission. Duplicates of documents and any printed matters directed to me are now usually sent through e-mails by scanning them. However although fax transmissions have become less and less frequent day after day in my house, I still connect the fax machine to the line, in case in a rare occasion one needs to send me a fax and he or she happens to be Internet-illiterate.
These fax and faxing things have got something to do with this article, and it has got nothing to do with tennis. A few days ago on the Pikiran Rakyat daily my sight stumbled across an advert of Telkom (Indonesia) informing that the subscribers can change the plan in paying their landline phone bills. It is an interesting offer. Usually we are charged with the fixed subscription plus the flexible call charges (and of course plus a flexible VAT). But on the advert, it said we can change the plan of payments that will do away with the fixed subscription (bebas abonemen). I don’t know the lowdown on this advert but if you are interested, the information on it is only a few clicks away through the search engines. This advert however had interested me in a way that it conjured up a conclusion that Telkom is trying to implement an innovation, to some extent, to their product which is the landline phone. I am not surprised with the innovational efforts implemented by Telkom to boost their income from the landline service since this kinda communication begins to be forsaken by the users. Of course, we all know what caused it. It is mobile phone services that deprive the landline service of its users!
I still remember very well, about 15 years ago, when I needed a new landline connection for a fax-dedicated one. I contacted them but the best thing they could do was to tell me to wait until they released new lines to the market. Yes, fifteen years ago (in Indonesia) to add a secondary line in your home was an uphill effort, they would reject you with smooth but prolix excuses, the most common one was that they did not have new lines to offer! So I waited and waited until kingdom come there’s nothing else I could do. Unfortunately, fax was still an uncontested device for remote-duplicating document. E-mails, on the other hand were still alien to most Indonesians. MMS (Multi-Media Messaging)?? Don’t ever think about it. Even inter-networking text messaging was still disabled at that time! So, the most convenient way to remote-copy the documents was through a fax machine. That explains why fifteen years ago I still needed Telkom.
But today, it is a totally different story. E-mails are very common. Uploading a scanned document is also a snap. Moreover, Internet connection is no longer dependent upon low-speed dial-up connection. Cellular, Cable-TV and many other networks offer high-speed Internet connections to compete with Telkom’s ADSL connection. And today, despite still subscribing to Telkom’s services I firmly feel that I no longer need Telkom’s services for the telecommunication purposes. But as usual, when the monopoly-nurtured big company like Telkom began to lose their market share in the stiff competition, then they just realised that innovation and the customer’s satisfaction were the ones worth implementing! That’s really pathetic! When they feel that they are no longer necessarily the numero uno in the league, they begin to appreciate the people that have contribution to their pots of money. But again, of course, as a cliché “better late than never” always prevails when you want to make an excuse for doing correctly so late, a newly invented adage “better early than late” must be more notified in today’s modern market-oriented stiff competition…..