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Factors driving mobile internet in India

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on June 10, 2010

Mobility has touched the lives of 50% Indians and with the launch of 3G and enhanced spectrum, the numbers would see a bigger boost. As discussed in an earlier post, India is now going through a Data revolution. More and more people are accessing internet through their mobiles phones. Here are a key factors enabling the spread of Mobile Internet in India.

Proliferation of mobile internet
In 2011, Smartphone search rates are expected to exceed PC search rates of 2007.

In India alone, the GPRS users are estimated at 20 to 25 million, which is also estimated at 40% of desktop Internet users. Over 2009 internet traffic from metros from India grew 2.5X times other global carriers: Nearly half of this traffic was from Mobile phones.

India Smartphone penetration
Data from Admob shows that Internet traffic is mostly based on Feature phones accessing Internet through WAP sites. However, the smartphone penetration is also increasing across the country and 3G compatible devices are breaching the Rs.5000 mark. This provides an opportunity to replacement consumers to buy into higher end devices which have greater internet capability than the earlier devices.

Sample this: The Highest Mobile Traffic Mobile in India is the Nokia 5130/3310, which for most of its life was a 4K device. A user who bought into this device an year ago today has an option of upgrading to a more feature rich-internet enabled smartphone at 5-8K. That is where consumers are beginning to migrate to the internet

New Age Browsers: The start of a platform transition
With the smartphone entry price points close to the 5K, the browsing game now shifts from Mobile WAP browsing to full scale HTML browsing. While the former is optimized for Mobile, uses minimal navigation is quick loading and is without Frills to suit the limiting computing power of the mobile, full HTML browsing offers PC like browsing experience with multiple page support. The browsing experience will be aided by Location, direction and motion sensor, web apps and rich media experience.

Affordability of data plans
Mobile internet is set to surge see a surge as data plans now break down the price barriers and more and more competitors increasingly commoditize the voice revenues streams. A survey by Google puts the entry threshold for mass acceptance of data plans to Rs.100 per month citing that the volume increment in that case is a 5X multiple. As we go along, data revenues will continue spiraling downwards to the point of pay per downloads.

Two cases of Iran in 2007-08 and Algeria in 2008 prove the direct correlation between data plan affordability and surge in Internet traffic numbers.

A combination of the four factors has been and will be the driving force behind India’s Mobile internet growth in the near future.

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