India’s Mobile Market is challenging, highly competitive, innovative and above all, exciting. Here Virat Singh Khutal, CEO of Twist Mobile shares his top ten “things you need to know” about this hugely varied and dynamic market.
1) A Market in Transition
The Indian mobile market is in a period of major transition, moving from a predominantly feature phone market to smart phones. This transition is driven by cheap handsets, which now account for 90% of total phone sales. Every android phone sold in India has a 40% chance of GPRS activation compared to a 20% chance on feature phones.
2) The role of the Mobile operator
There are 850 million wireless subscribers and out of 150 million are internet users, half the population of US. India now has the 3rd largest Internet population in the world after China and the US. At 150 million total Internet users, the Internet penetration in India remains at 12 per cent compared to 65% in China. However huge potential for growth of Mobile Internet will happen in India. Key drivers for that growth would be handset cost, GPRS cost and affinity of Indian user for mobile content.
3) Feature Phones vs Smart Phones
India has 67 Million smart phone users compared to 783 million feature phones. Out of 150 million mobile internet users in India, 40% have smart phones. The smart phone market is dominated by Android devices. The most famous android device sold in India is Samsung Galaxy Y. Feature phones in India are shifting towards a smarter way of doing similar tasks. In particular, the Nokia Asha series is doing well in the local market due to enabling first time users’ access to the Mobile Internet.
4) App consumption
India is considered to be one of the top countries across iTunes, Google Play (Rank 3), Nokia (Rank 1). Developers in India have great opportunities for creating local products for Indian consumers.
5) App Development
Currently the top games and applications used on Android and iOS by Indian consumers are owned by western gaming companies. Development and consumption of local content in India is low due to lack of widespread adoption. As consumers from rural India move to smart phones, we will see different types of application and games penetrating in India. This adoption will be key driver for Twist Mobile’s future.
6) App Development Talent
India has a good pool of programmers and technical developers for App Development. There is crunch of talent in UI and UX designers in India. As the industry will move forward the country will see better designers and user experience specialists in India.
7) Monetization & Business models
The Indian gaming market is more driven by free to play or advertising models for monetization. As the market matures and handset penetration increases we will notice growth in In-App purchase.
8) Mobile Advertising
Mobile advertising is also in transition, moving from VAS based to Brand led advertising. This new transformation is happening due to FMCG and other sectors embracing Mobile as a key channel for marketing to young Indians. Wi-Fi inventory in India is also rising due to Nokia Asha and Android devices. This is creating new challenges and new ad formats for Ad Networks in India. Vserv, InMobi and Buzzcity are three major ad networks in India.
9) Mobile Payments
The situation for Mobile payment in India is not good. Revenue share between developers and operators is causing concern and points to a need for the Indian gaming and app industry to evolve. Revenue share is 70% (Operator): 30% (Developer).
There has been a tremendous growth in the internet usage. People are spending more time on the internet in Social Media, Music and basic email stuff. The use of Video, RPG, Social gaming and intense internet applications will drive new growth in India.
Currently high speed internet connectivity in urban areas is phenomenal compared to rural areas. As 3G is rolled out properly in rural areas we will see different users with new use cases adding to this market.
Virat Singh Khutal is CEO of Twist Mobile – follow Twist Mobile on Twitter.