Inflated mobile content numbers hide the true picture

Business Standard, in an article on Jun 12 says India’s Value Added Service (mobile content) market is expected to touch Rs 3,000-4,000 crore ($900 million) by 2007.

The 3000-4000 crore number is so ridiculously inflated that it borders on the amusing. In fact one of the biggest issues in the mobile data services landscape in India is lack of accurate reporting. There are plenty of anectdotal numbers floating around with Yahoo and a couple of operator portals claiming over a million downloads a month for mobile content. Anybody who cares to dig in will soon realize that facts and numbers just dont add up. GPRS penetration is less than 2%, the download experience is frustrating and inconsistent, operator data plans are complicated (Airtel’s Airtel Live, Airtel Online and Mobile office are confusing enough!) and operator walled gardens dont help either. The only form of mobile content doing well in India are probably mono ringtones which can be ordered easily and delivered as an SMS.
Operators need to wake up to reality and simplify data plans and tariffs, allowing media companies to drive the off-portal market. Otherwise, the kind of mobile content numbers being forecast are not going happen anytime soon.


About Deepak
Venture Capital and M&A advisor, Entrepreneur, Startup enthusiast..

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