Indian Mobile Users still Far Away from Internet
Here’s a question that I have been asking whenever I have had more than a handful of people around me - “How many of you use internet on your mobile phone?” And invariably the response were horribly negative. We frequently hear the great number of mobile phones that Indian consumers have been lapping up.. will this communication revolution lead to information revolution? The answer reflects in the recently released report by IAMAI.
Here’s a quick snapshot of how the mobile usage in India looks like:
From the hugely touted Indian mobile penetration, only 0.4% users actively use Internet. And here is what my worry is: Mobile adoption in India is leading to telecom revolution while the larger information revolution is still far away.
The future of the mobile internet seems to hold some promise though. The young generation of school going and college going kids constitute around 68% of this mobile online population. When this generation grows up (probably in 10 years) they will grow this usage of theirs.
So, do we wait till then?
There are two main challenges I see in internet usage on mobile devices:
- Availability of affordable mobile handsets. Only 27% of all Indian mobile users have internet capable devices.
- Internet Usage rates on mobile devices are still too high. TRAI had helped reduce tariffs on mobile telephone usage leading to this explosion. It needs to take the next step and recommend lower tariffs for internet usage.
The potential of mobile computing can only come true if these last two last issues are successfully mitigated by policy intervention.
What do you think?