TECH TALK: Mass Market Internet: Building the Mass Market Internet – 2

Service providers should tie-up with banks, and other organizations for whom the customer relationship is critical. These companies can help “guarantee” the payments in return for co-branding on the device. For example, a bank or a finance company who can leverage a relationship can actually waive the initial payment from the user, and pay us. A connection with the bank will also increase the level of the trust of the user. In fact, companies could team up with the public sector banks to roll out this – it gives them an entry point into the ecommerce area which they so desperately want, and helps leverage their existing customer relationships.

This must be given free of cost to the user, and hence needs to be subsidized. The way to do this is to have one-click access to websites. Thus, we can have the standard keyboard with 15-odd buttons on it, each with a direct click on the websites. Our cost of the keyboard is likely to be about Rs 1,000. The customer can pay Rs 250 and the 15-odd websites can pay Rs 50 per customer.

Access Network
To begin with, one can work with the telephone network. Here people will still need to pay Rs 25/hour for the access. We can use the paging network for 1-way incoming pre-specified information. Outgoing will still be via the telephone. Think of it this way: Paging for the async incoming data, while dial-up for the synchronous real-time interaction on the net. Next step would be to move to 2-way wireless: either through 2-way paging or the GSM/GPRS network of the cellco (provided the price point is attractive).

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.