Building the Digital Bridge
Building the Digital Bridge, Mumbai India September 2012:
Creative Industries KTN, in partnership with the Science & Innovation Network and AcceleratorIndia hosted the event.
UK businesses participated in this exciting networking “meetup” taking place in Mumbai.
Venue: Taj Lands End Hotel, Mumbai, India.
The fact interest rates on savings can be as high as 10% says quite a lot.
Fast changing, fast growth in a country stretching from the great Himalayas to the southern tropics.
A Country with a large population including 500 million in rural life.
This event allowed a fascinating glimpse or snapshot for both the Indian and European digital & mobile content sectors.
In the afternoon short 5 minute presentations were given by each invited Company.
So what really is the main difference? Two things I believe emerged as major points.
Firstly, 3G has never really taken off in India so far.
Second, user contracts are based on large numbers of people signed up at low cost.
The two points are intrinsically linked. Cost of the 3G licenses was high, so the companies cannot use the same tariffs for the previous 2G networks to make a profit. Thus when combined with traditionally low cost sign up the conflict is clear. It may be the operators will have to move on this. Another interesting point is the difference in percentage splits for services by over the top companies. The Telco operators want large percentages of the revenue share whereas in the UK this is somewhat more balanced in the service providers’ favour. This also causes issues with services and take up.
The urban areas 3G take up and use with smart phones is increasing but, if one is talking about services and applications for a large part of the population, that is a different matter. Local government is pushing a bit with support for tablets with schools and colleges which may begin to swing things a little.
The comments above do not of course preclude using 2.75 G devices for payments and this is on the rise and companies such as PayMate are highly active in this space.
The variety and way of paying is also broadening out with mobile wallets and the like. In fact the use of mobile in this way can be seen as way for the rural communities to engage in electronic payments and the like without the need for a bank account. Innovation indeed.
So, for UK companies engaged in digital services and mobile smart applications including media, the way will emerge over the next 2-3 years in the more urban communities and this market sector is in the region of 100 million.
So, in the rural areas voice, text and payments are the main uses but another interesting use was highlighted. Power in India is intermittent in some communities. This means TV services can be interrupted. However downloading a few films locally onto a mobile, watching favorite films and stars can be achieved without interruption.
Most homes have one TV so this also means individual family members can watch their own favorites without any family discussions. This download method is open to abuse and most are not paid for which will begin to open the potential for local shops to offer these downloads at small payments.
Research does indicate most would rather pay a small fee to get the films of their choice legally.
So going forward, this event has been of great interest in getting a snapshot of the Indian mobile and digital situation and a great opportunity to meet and make contacts with Indian companies for a two way conversation. These contacts will grow fruit over the coming years I am sure and there is no doubt India is a country and community which is becoming one of the great powerhouse economies and societies. Much can be learned, not just from business but also about tolerance, helpfulness and spirituality which underpins so much of this Great Country.
This was an incredible and worthwhile experience for all UK companies involved I am sure. Many thanks to the organisers and sponsors to make this happen.
There is a channel here to see media clips around the event: