In the past decade, what we have witnessed is rightly termed by IDC as Mobilution, and the handset adoption situation today can very well be classified as ‘Mobile Everywhere.’
So where do we further go from this state? One answer, and the obvious one, would be to have “more mobiles everywhere,” which would be nothing but a volumes-led growth. This approach has served the Indian telecom industry so far so well, but it is now facing the looming issue of saturation. As tele-density rises, growth would be slowly but surely hitting a plateau.
Another answer could lie in moving to a state of “Mobile Everything,” of which service providers have likely only scratched the surface with the current suites of value-added services. The essence of ‘Mobile Everything’ is much deeper and wider and has the potential to touch lives of hundreds of millions mobile subscribers in the country. It has the potential to change the way we conduct many of our day-to-day transactions and affairs, especially in the areas such as banking, commerce, education, healthcare and citizen services. As for enterprises, mobile access of applications and enterprise data is already a reality.
When it comes to extending the benefits of mobility to consumers, at a mass level, the underlying ICT and network architectures have historically posed challenges of, say, secure access to banking or healthcare records and applications. However, the emerging service delivery paradigm in ‘Cloud’ promises to overcome the limitations posed by earlier network architectures that were not so mobility-oriented or elastic by design.
These shifts are certainly triggered by a colossal proliferation of mobile service subscriptions and devices that has happened over the years. Of this gigantic base, even if a fraction translates into ready-to-adapt users, the addressable opportunity for service providers would be attractive enough from a sustainability perspective. The rest could be the beginning of a new history, of mobile-everything.
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