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Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Indian Mobile Growth & The Future Of Internet

In this impressive Knoweldge@wharton interview, Rajesh says that in India, “the future of the internet will be built around the mobile phone”.He points to low PC penetration and limited broadband as real shortcomings for the internet to grow the PC route. Roughly ¾ ths of the 40 million users of the Internet, access the web through cyber cafés. This limits the number of services( these are anyway quite limited for now) they can use because they are paying for every minute. In such circumstances you can't build your digital life around online services.
He thinks that more people in India will access the Internet through mobile phones than through computers linked to narrowband or broadband connections and that means we need to start thinking about the mobile Internet differently than we do about the PC Internet. As he sees it, three words help define the mobile Internet. They are: now, near and new. There are 100+million mobile subscribers in India – last months India added around 6 million subscribers The shape of the Internet in India going forward could be rather different than it was in the past. Like the NTT DoCoMo's i-Mode wireless Internet service that changed the Japanese ecosystem, a change can happen in India only if mobiles become an open platform. He sees opportunities for growth for all – software companies, content providers, telecom operators - for content providers the challenge is to think through how to create innovative services based on the recognition that mobile phones are basically two-way multimedia devices. For software companies it's about building the technology platforms to enable services. And for telecom companies, it's about innovating and building an ecosystem for value-added services. An interesting interview and the Indian mobile growth is a phenomenon indeed.

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