Let us start pondering on the question reading the document The Growth Phase of 3G in India. My personal observation in India is as follows. In India, the internet penetration is less than 10% of the population. I am very much in the 10% of the population and enjoy the fruits of internet technology. But the remaining 90% of India population is not using internet except for railway booking, bus booking and utility payments. I am seeing banks move to internet for payment and money transfer and the number of Indians with bank account is less also. But ATMS need power to work and there is regular power-cuts in India. I have been banking for 28 years now and today really miss the friendly manager, who would help me across my school breaks( today i am supposed to be a privileged customer), rather than being pushed to toll free number and send emails. I did not expect technology to create issues, but that is reality today.
Let me come to question on 4G. Are 3G services really used By Indians? I used to carry my Blackberry with unlimited internet for last year and disconnected my internet for a month now. Am I missing something? No. it seems that I have more time for myself than in the last one year. Did I really need 3G? I am still finding.
Being in mobile learning space, I see that very few students to use internet in their phones. Even if they have android phone, they seem to prefer using wi-fi at home rather than internet on mobile. 8 out of a batch of 100 students are ready to use internet to download irrespective of their phones. What will be the case when 90% of mobile users in India are pre-paid customers and the average balance is Rs 7. Mobile users do not even renew the mobile numbers though that option is provided to them in India.
Is there really a critical mass using 3G services to migrate to 4G services? Is it because 4G devices have started to come in the market? Do we have surplus money to invest in 4G infrastructure?. So, right now I am not sure if the consumer needs access to 4G speeds. If the telecom companies and Device manufactures and government thinks wants to make India ready for 4G, I recommend them to perform the following
- Focus on consumer delight
- Offer better battery life, support for Indian languages in devices
- Create a larger consumer base to start using internet available today and available on their phones.
- Make people use mobile devices as content creation devices rather than only content access devices.
Let us create real demand for introduction of 4G services.