In May of this year, Indian telecom companies bid an unprecedented $11 billion for spectrum designated for 3G high-speed data. With more than 580 million subscribers, India is the world’s second largest wireless market. More than 20 million new wireless accounts were created in March.
Cheap calling plans, competition from as many as 12 providers in some cities and an aggressive push by phone companies into rural India have driven down prices to as low as USD 0.6 cents a minute.
Mobile data usage remains low in India and as these networks are unveiled, data usage is expected to spike as more consumers turn to these services. Shailesh Rao, Managing Director, Google India reflects on what these changes mean for India:
Another phenomenon of great interest is the rapidly reducing price of devices which are becoming cheaper and cheaper. This will transform the experience and power in the hands of the average Indian consumer. In the next 18-24 months, we will see a dramatic change in the way the average Indian consumer uses his device, the services he avails on it, the kind of devices they have and the kind of usage of data in the country. This is something that we at Google are quite excited about.
As these cheaper devices get into the hands of users in India, we can only hope they find their way over to the islands. The focus is on India especially where it concerns the development of these low-cost devices.