Mobile: Missing Data
The mobile revolution in India has seen an amazing decade of growth. With nearly 900 million SIMs distributed to 500+ million Indians, the mobile has done for communications what the landline telephone never did. The voice revolution in India is finally complete. Pretty much everyone who chooses to be connected can do so for a small investment.
The next upgrade will come through the use of Data. This is where the operators’ 3G strategy has been confusing and disappointing. They haven’t really pushed 3G hard enough. The networks too are not delivering the speeds that they should. So, even as have devices capable of doing so much more, the usage of data and the ecosystem of content and applications is not growing fast enough.
Data plans for postpaid users need to become much more rational. To charge Rs 600 as operators want to do on a Blackberry data connection is irrational, even as they offer cheaper plans for BBM and email. Operators should replicate the i-mode model of open platforms and micropayments to drive the ecosystem in India. That is where the Rs 500+ data ARPU is going to happen.