Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Net on phone?

There has been a considerable debate on a half percent drop in the internet connections in India. That has been correlated to the fact that people are turning to access the net on their mobile phones in droves. Is that really so?

We all know how the mobile phone network is in India. To say the very least, it can get a lot better. In a day and age when call drops are common, do you think really think people are getting out of the net and moving onto the mobile phone? I dont think so. And charges for accessing the net - which is at best a flaky experience - is quite high (and quite user unfriendly).

True, postpaid ARPU has increased, but just a one percent increase in the minutes of use? So, if ARPU increases with minutes remaining nearly static, then charges have gone up. Indeed if there was a drastic shift into reading the web on the mobile phone, surely you would have seen a more drastic increase in the minutes used? (correct me if I am wrong here)

The TRAI report lists 31.3 (million users) in the last quarter to 38.02 in this quarter as wireless internet users. My take here is that these users do not necessarily access the net via phones, they access the net via a laptop and a wireless card - given by some service providers (Reliance for instance).

The half percent drop is just a manner of shake outs, imho. IT guys signing out for signing into their employers accounts (well, there goes productivity, but...). Also, many companies provide wireless internet for their laptop owning employees - and this number is increasing, and these people give up their earlier connections (connect with previous sentence/para).

The people who do move out of the internet, are, really connections moving out from a city/location to another city/location. That will perhaps be seen in the next report, as a sharp surge (speculation) - but no, I dont think the net is migrating to the phone in a hurry nor is this a real drop in the number of internet connections in India. The trend is to go toward broadband, where there is a growth of 3 odd percent, but expect this number to rise...

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