Manish Dalal Issue: India 2011
Article no.: 7
Topic: 3G in India
Author: Manish Dalal
Title: Vice President, Asia- Pacific, Verisign Naming Services
Organisation: Verisign
PDF size: 811KB

About author

Mr. Manish Dalal is the Vice President for Verisign Naming Services, Asia Pacific. Prior to Verisign, Mr Dalal was Yahoo’s Senior Director of mobile products for India. Before joining Yahoo!, Mr Dalal was a Principal at Strategy Consulting Firm Pittiglio Rabin Todd McGrath (PRTM), consulting to senior management in blue-chip telecom companies. Prior to PRTM, Mr Dalal led Motorola’s product management efforts for cellular messaging. Manish Dalal holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology, a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Article abstract

Because of 3G, mobile Internet users will far outnumber Internet access via PCs or tablets. Currently, India’s businesses rank low by international standards in the use of ICTs. This may be partly due to a certain lack of infrastructure, but it is also due to the lack of adequate broadband connectivity. The advent of 3G mobile broadband will dramatically change this picture and make a wide variety of online business and financial services available to a vast number of people.

Full Article

The digital divide is arguably the broadband divide now. India today boasts 81 million Internet users while the number of broadband users is very low at only ten million users . While Internet access helped accelerate the trend from voice to data, these worlds may now be converging. This potential convergence offers the dual benefits of new interactive multimedia services coupled with the flexibility and mobility of wireless technology. The launch of 3G services will help to realize the full potential of this convergence. The mobile phone is perhaps the most rapidly adopted technology in history, even faster than the radio . Globally, the number of mobile phone users crossed the five billion mark in 2010. (See Figure 1). Compared to other technologies, the mobile phone has seen rapid adoption in developing countries (See Figure 2). Now, the mobile phone is poised to bridge the broadband divide with the launch of 3G. The mobile phone is likely to become the primary device for Internet connectivity in the world by 2020 . India is already second only to the United States for Internet browsing on mobile phones, registering the second highest number of Web page views using handsets . Mobile broadband will add significantly to the total number of Internet users and it is expected that India’s Internet population will surge to 237 million by 2015 . At such a time, the number of mobile Internet users may far outnumber the users that access the Internet via PCs or Internet tablets. . In developed countries where mobile broadband is already prevalent, better mobile handsets and innovative applications are enabling the further use of new services such as social networking, gaming, music, videos, and financial transactions over the Internet. More and more of these sophisticated handsets/handheld devices are becoming increasingly affordable in developing nations as well. It may be interesting to review how ICT (Information and Communications Technology) and broadband connectivity are in use today and what their contribution is to the overall productivity of the world’s working population. The Connectivity Scorecard developed by Leonard Waverman of Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary has made a qualitative assessment of ICT and broadband by digging deeper into the installed ICT base and considers ICT’s use by measuring the working population’s skills and studying parameters like the use of enterprise software and women’s access to ICT. India was placed at the 21st spot in the Scorecard for 2010 that mapped 50 developing nations across the globe making it the worst performer among the BRIC nations. A contributing factor to this low score has presumably been the lack of business infrastructure . Business usage also returned a low score on this Connectivity Scorecard. This could perhaps be due to the relatively low adoption of ICT among SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in India. 3G changes the equation The advent of 3G is likely to change the picture dramatically. It has been shown that increased broadband deployment can have a significant impact on productivity and economic growth. The areas of education, healthcare and mobile commerce are expected to be among the early beneficiaries of 3G. In a country as vast as India, healthcare delivery in the hinterland has always been a challenge. With 3G, rendering of simple services like medication reminders to more complex applications like remote diagnostics and monitoring become possible. 3G services are likely to be easy to deliver and cost-effective too. Similarly, 3G has the potential to make banking and payment solutions more convenient and more accessible. It is also likely to usher in the mobile cash era making it hassle free to conduct both business-to-business and consumer-to-business monetary transactions on the mobile. Gearing up! Most players in the Internet business are gearing up to address the increase in network traffic that new connected devices such as smart phones may bring to the Internet. Domain Name System (DNS) Services are proactively working to ensure the continued stability and security of the critical Internet infrastructure under their stewardship. At the heart, is the need to increase its capacity to process DNS queries by more than a thousand times, from a capacity of about four trillion queries per day, to a capacity of more than four quadrillion queries per day by 2020. While some may question whether daily DNS demand will reach the four quadrillion queries-per-day mark, even by 2020, experience in DNS management shows that the network must be robust enough to handle even the severest of spikes, so they must be prepared accordingly. As they say – ‘The past is not usually a good way to predict the future’. Consequently, it is necessary to invest in an ecosystem that can and will support a population far larger than the one currently communicating and transacting on the Internet today and one that shall increase even further with the onset of 3G. SMEs and 3G Mobile users see their mobile phones as a tool to help them work, live and communicate more effectively. This view is likely to be reinforced by the advent of affordable 3G services in India. SMEs are becoming more aware of the possibilities of data services and, accordingly, SMEs too may begin to quickly adopt broadband mobile Internet in India. 3G for instance can enable a small business owner without a bank account to make or receive payments. A small business can also use mobile broadband to communicate with and support their customers through a robust mobile Web site. Benefits for stakeholders Improved broadband connectivity helps achieve several economic and social benefits. However, for them to accrue to the concerned stakeholders – businesses, consumers and the government, alike – there needs to be widespread use of the broadband services being offered. 3G should help enable just that.