The changing role of mobile in India

Preeti Chaturvedi

Rising mobile internet usage is transforming the communications sector in India, a shift that will force growing numbers of marketers to adapt their strategies.

This process was discussed in depth at the Mobile Internet Conference, an event convened by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in November 2013. Figures recently published by the organisation, in partnership with research firm IMRB International, showed there were 205 million mobile internet users in India at the end of October 2013, a figure due to hit 243 million by June 2014 – at which point India is set to leapfrog the US to become the second-largest market worldwide on this measure, behind only China on 300 million.

Sanjay Goel, founder and chief executive officer of technology firm ACL Mobile, provided a statistical backdrop to mobile's upward curve during the conference. In 1999, he reminded delegates, an incoming call was charged at Rs22.50 and an outgoing call cost Rs.43.50, meaning the mobile phone was essentially a luxury product. Different demographic segments, however, were soon targeted by telcos keen to explore the wider growth opportunities on offer.