Pranav Balakrishnan

Staff writer, The Ken • India Edition

Pranav is one among the fresh graduates who joined from ACJ's Bloomberg programme. Pranav writes about mobility and electric vehicles. He also has keen interest in consumer electronics and telecom.

29 Articles published

Top Comments by Pranav Balakrishnan

Charges and sparks fly in Lithium’s leadership tussle

Hi Raj, I think that at its core Lithium is in the cab pooling business. And they might have an edge over Uber and Ola in post-pandemic world because of the elements like predictability and unit economics being in favour of services like Lithium's. We wrote about it a few months back. But seems like Uber is tweaking the way it does car pooling to be more accommodative to corporate travel users.

Pranav Balakrishnan

Ola's uneasy transition into an everything company

Hi Yagna, I don't know about the current cash position as their book have not yet been made public, but Ola's initial plan was to roll out three wheelers and battery swapping stations, mirroring the petrol bunks, and then bring the the two-wheelers into the mix. A source said that setting up the charging infra, the one that would consume the most amount of capital, was to be expanded using debt capital which they would offload to a third party or independent partners in a couple of years. This will help Ola conserve capital. An approach similar to another asset management company owned by Ola- Ola Fleet Technologies- and how debt was used to buy cars and giving the driver the option to buy later. Ola just remained as a guarantor. It looked great on paper but there were a lot of practical challenges that hindered Ola's plans of scaling. Here is a link to that article-

Pranav Balakrishnan

Ola, Amazon and the flaw in FaaFing for fintech dominance

Hi Faiz, you have a point there. Jio wants to do everything, and in RIL's 2019-20 annual report, the company said that it has created a new “Financial Service” segment within the company in the year ended March 2019. It would collect data from the company’s retail as well as digital business (Jio Platforms) to cross-sell financial services. We have written about Jio's attempts in fintech in our recent story here.

Pranav Balakrishnan

India shies, SE Asia splits, while others sit on Huawei's 5G future

Hi Rahul, I am sorry I don't have the technical insights about each patent as analysing them is not something I am qualified enough to do. The reason why I felt Huawei is indispensable was by looking at two data points- 1. Patents declared- Huawei is a clear leader. But not all patents have been granted. And the research firms have only looked at the ones that have been granted to analyze and figure out whether they are indispensable (core) or not. Huawei is again the leader here with 20%. I agree 20% won't guarantee domination. But the second data point- 2. The rate at which 5G patents are being declared compared to 4G- There is a scramble to declare patents and Huawei has been spending billions over the years in R&D on 5G in order to win the race and stamp their authority on the next-gen technology. With such high R&D spending, patents declared and early lead in the core patent portfolio, Huawei is likely to dominate 5G patents. As for open-RAN, all eyes are on Rakutan and the commercial launch next month in Japan- the world's first open-RAN 5G. But some people in the telecom market are not too optimistic. The Rakuten project has been marred by delays for quite some time. And the commercial launch is likely going to throw more problems which needs solving. There are also questions being raised about its integration with 4G, which are now served by European and Chinese vendors. 5G cannot exist on its own as it would take years for the coverage to reach 100% of the population. Existing have zero interest to integrate their 4G network with open-RAN as it would cannibalise their own 5G business.

Pranav Balakrishnan

Stories by Pranav Balakrishnan