An Indian i-mode – Part 2

The mobile world is shifting from voice to data. Voice revenues may still make up 85-90% revenues for operators today, but they are not going to grow. The new subscriber growth is slowing; the new subscribers at the bottom of the pyramid aren’t going to be talking as much; the existing 500-600 million users have maxed out how much they are going to be talking. So, the way forward is to either cut costs to increase earnings, or to drive new services which improve profitability.

In this world, the mix of high-speed networks, better devices and flexible, developer-friendly operating systems create an amazing new opportunity waiting to be exploited. In this brave new world, operators can either be dumb pipes or can create new business models where they can benefit from the growing demand and consumption of data services.

Operates have to thus look at three streams of revenue: today’s voice revenues, tomorrow’s data access revenues (for pipes), and the future’s data services revenues. A model like that of i-mode can help create more of the access revenues, but more importantly, drive huge data services revenues.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.

5 thoughts on “An Indian i-mode – Part 2”

  1. Rajesh san – Appreciate your article. With voice stabilizing, data services/ access is the way to go. I think imode (NTT Docomo) squandered the opportunity to go global with their model despite the fact that they had huge lead.


  2. Rajesh,
    Do you know what is stopping our mobile service providers from doing iMode in India? Are they thinking of it at all?

  3. i-mode is an interesting concept with a great business model:

    I think India has had it’s i-mode in the form of R-world. Even the initial white, bulky Rs. 11,000 black & white phones had news broadcasts that was in around 2003. Reliance failed to model a good business plan around it.

    I think, two factors are responsible to impede the replication of the i-mode model (content providers, interface disparities, user learning curve, etc) in India:
    1) 99 % people in Japan have Japanese as the first language; compared to 22 languages given in the 8th Schedule of Indian constitution
    2) 99% literacy rate in Japan vs 74.04% (2011 figure) in India.

    Gini Index having 10% difference too. Glocal outlook, as it is, is difficult to conceive and implement profitably in the Indian context. But, not impossible. What is required is innovation. Something like an Android phone linked to Google Translate and location sense to give a local language interface and content. Rather, the disparities can be brought to advantage, and the huge population in India gives impetus to user generated content as well.
    We should have,, etc.. like -> free local content!!

  4. Just out of curiosity-globally which other operator other than ntt docomo has been able to crack the data puzzle?

Comments are closed.