India’s mobile Internet subscriber base is set to reach 213 million by June this year according to a new report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB International. That up from 173 million subs registered in December 2014.
Possibly due to this type of exponential growth or maybe in anticipation, the Indian market has become a “major theatre of war” for the mobile industry. Various battle lines have been draw over the last few month along multiple fronts:
- Handset vendors are making lower cost smartphone and launching specifically into the Indian market. Even Google launched its Android one platform in India just last September (Android One changes the India game)
- An operator price war has been under way for some time in a bid to grab many of those new subscriber (Price war – Indian Data Plans)
- Operators are getting creative and innovative about bundling content or charging for it (MTS to offer free movies to data, smartphone customers, Vodafone CEO – Tax OTT Players like Facebook & WhatsApp)
There is also the spread of access beyond the urban centers…
“Primary reason for a higher growth on mobile internet user-base in rural India can be attributed to introduction of inexpensive internet enabled mobile handsets, value-for-money plans and need to stay connected etc. Apart from other devices, 78% of the active internet users in urban cities and 66% in rural villages are accessing the internet on their mobile,” says the report.
At the same time major attention of late has fallen on the subject of Net Neutrality. Just yesterday, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said “The Internet must promote local along with the global. For India, net neutrality is very important ….As far as government architecture to deal with this issue is concerned, India is studying this and discussing it with stakeholders“ Prasad added.
The local regulatory body TRAI, has begun to investigate Net Neutrality and fast lanes concepts in the local market. As previously noted (here), there is currently no regulations in India regarding Net Neutrality nor does TRAI actually have the power to enforce any regulations in this area.
So all in all, great prospects, but several challenges. Rather sticky wicket as they would say in India. With so much growth in the offing, many players are on the offensive and things are not likely to settle down soon. This really is a market to keep an eye on in 2015. Watch this space…!
More Here [TimesofIndia]