TECH TALK: Mass Market Internet: Building the Mass Market Internet – 3

How do you get the first 10 million users? Four interesting target audiences to begin with would be teenagers, traders (stock), NRIs for their family in India and kirana store owners.

Teenagers Plus (15-25 years) constitute a very significant audience on the Net. This audience has the power to spend – cash. They do not have credit. They are more likely to use the new services that we introduce at our Access Points. They have more in common with their peers internationally. This is the audience Japan’s NTTDocomo targeted with its I-mode service so successfully.

Many million Indians own stock. Internet Trading by itself may not be much of an impact unless the device problem is solved. Hence we need a version of the device geared for financial services, with banks/FIs perhaps even agreeing to give them free in order to lock the customer in. For stock trading, the device will need to support wireless access. This way, stock quotes can be sent and trades be executed from anywhere. Banks also have an incentive to strengthen the customer relationship – if Internet banking is encouraged, then the bank’s costs come down. The device offers a mechanism for banks to offer multiple products to the customers.

NRIs can also play a crucial role here: they can gift these devices and the Net service to their family in India. The devices can be used for messaging to begin with. This can later be extended to having them gift these to schools/colleges of their choice, enabling them to contribute to India’s IT growth.

Kirana Store Owners should be persuaded to have these devices at their outlets so that people can walk in, and get a glimpse and use these devices. Once people start using them, they will then want to get them at phone. Also, it provides a ubiquity in terms of access in every neighbourhood.

These are the Early Adopters. The eventual goal is to get the device into every home, every telephone booth, every village in India. Perhaps, the Income-Tax department could offer a device free for all tax-payers!

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Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.