Expert Views | Jonathan Bill

 
‘INDIA to lead mobile internet explosion’
 
India will soon be the World’s second largest internet market in terms of users but has yet to find her feet in terms of an internet economy to match. However, green shoots are emerging and will continue to do so.
 
Then I wrote this short note last year, we were cautiously optimistic about the growth of mobile internet in India. We now have more traffic on mobile than on fixed internet. In 18 months or so, the pace of change has been phenomenal. From various analysts and our own research we know many of these users are ‘mobile only’ and ‘mobile first’.
Shipments of new sophisticated devices into India this year at affordable prices will bring a richer experience to many at highly affordable prices; indeed, such cost of connectivity means internet is now liberated for all who want it. Beyond the internet, mobile penetration continues and brings to India’s people and economy benefits which many now take for granted.
 
Whilst users have grown, we are still at the beginning of the mobile internet story. An exciting time with the investor community, entrepreneur community and many international businesses realizing the opportunity the scale presents. India will soon be the World’s second largest internet market in terms of users but has yet to find her feet in terms of an internet economy to match. However, green shoots are emerging and will continue to do so.
 
For so many sectors of India’s economy and population, mass connectivity brings opportunity and improvement. Be it knowing the deal you are getting is a fair price, learning remotely or getting correct medical advice without needing to travel—in effect, a myriad of not-yet-dreamt of opportunities. With these is a fast-emerging commercial model to reward India’s new entrepreneurs.
I truly believe we are now past the period of disappointment and skepticism which came about during the ‘dot com crash’.
 
With all this said, we are not without challenges – funding for ventures is still cautious; a paucity of design and user experience talent and the complexities of multiple languages need to be overcome. But these, in turn, also present opportunities—indeed, if you look at the trending services many of them are vernacular and regionalized. Users are looking for local relevance and that is finally being fulfilled. Wikipedia’s Hindi pages have grown exponentially and local news and deals services are gaining serious traction alongside the to-be-expected services from overseas.
 
This year the quality of nominations and number of entries submitted to the mBillionth awards reflects the growing pace of the region’s mobile internet and I look forward to joining the finalists and winners in celebrating.
 
Jonathan Bill

SVP Business Development
And Innovation at Vodafone India Limited.