Three years ago, I thought 3G was about a year away. Today, it is probably still a year away. What has happened in these intervening years is that I (and the rest of us in Netcore) have discovered SMS. Or to be more precise, SMS subscriptions. It has been a fascinating experience building up MyToday’s SMS services. When we started, we probably had no idea how things would turn out – at that time all we wanted was something that got us more than a few thousand regular users on the mobile platform.Now, as I look ahead, I see a very bright future for our SMS services. I cannot see SMS disappearing or fading away for the next 3-4 years, even if 3G does come soon enough. And that seemingly plain SMS can be the gateway to a wide array of services which the Mobile Internet will bring forth.
At the same time, the time is now to start building up a plan and set of services for the Mobile Internet. Even though usage in India is probably in the sub-10 million range (with about half sticking to operator portals), I do think the numbers will grow substantially over the next 3 years – driven by the killer combination of mobile devices that are more like handheld computers, and data networks which actually deliver on the promise of speed to make the promised future a reality.
For us in Netcore, it will mean adding a third dimension to our business. We have a Mailing business which is focused on enterprises. We also have our SMS-centric business focused on both consumers and enterprises. And now, we need to work on amplifying the investments we make in the Mobile Internet space. The key differentiated thinking needs to be built the N3 Web that I have talked about in the past – make the world of Now, New and Near a reality on the magic lamp in our hands.