Sunday, December 20, 2009

500 Mobile Phone Numbers In India: Toward The Mobile Internet Revolution

The Times Of India announced recently that India has reached 500 mobile phone numbers, which makes it the 2nd largest group of phone users after China.

India has 13 to 14 operators providing wireless connectivity — mostly mobile — in its 22 service areas. Of these, 8-9 companies are operational and another 5-6 are obligated to launch service to meet rollout obligations. Many of the new entrants who had bagged spectrum in January 2008 have been unable to get off the ground nearly two years after receiving licences. Hence, the market is still pretty open.

Despite the fact 3G network is probably miscellaneous, this is still a great opportunity for mobile Internet to grow. I have assisted to a presentation of Gartner expert in mobile technologies Thomas Husson which considers that India might skip the traditional wired Internet directly to wireless network. Hence, as these new emerging countries are skipping decades of technology steps, by adapting to occidental standards, developing a wireless network to have access to the Internet would probably be cheaper than a wired one.

Wimax, 3G and 4G networks, would hence be easy to set up to provide access to a country like India, especially because the main population hub are spread out over a very large country. This will of course have an impact on the Internet ecosystem development. Indeed, as we are seeing in the Western side of the world Iphones, mobile laptops among other technologies. India could become a development market where mobile applications and e business website could grow fast.

This is very interesting as India is also a technology friendly country as they have developed a high know how with in terms of development and engineering. The market might still be too low to develop a strong ebusiness presence, but I believe that within the next few years, we will see some great innovations in term of e commerce's customer experience, and new mobile applications.