Business, Marketing, Technology

Mobile phone buyers in India – 2010 and beyond (Part 2)

(Last time, I wrote about the qualitative classification of Mobile phone buyers in India. This is a continuation of that post. )

Million households
Firstly, to give numbers to the last time’s classification – NCAER numbers of 2006 are as given in the chart above. The survey takes into account data for 209 mn households.

In the IPL, we have some interesting brandings happening already. Have you noticed the number of telecom companies + mobile phone companies advertising during the 45 day cricket extravaganza? I can count – Karbonn mobile, Micromax, Videocon, Nokia, Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Reliance, Tata Docomo, Max mobile, Samsung, LG – basically the entire industry is present here in some or the other manner. That explains the mad scramble to get to the Indian eyeballs and grabbing some amount of market share.

So, where is this industry going ahead? If I were to identify top 3 potential game-changers in 2010, these (or a combination of these) would be my answers.

1. The mobile operator – As mobile phone buyers become more versatile and know what to expect from a mobile phone, they will make more and more informed choices- particularly, those in the Climbers class and above. In this context, the role of the operator will become increasingly important. For an aware mobile phone buyer, an attractive mobile phone package can act as an effective deterrent to the lure of the prepaid connection. That phone manufacturer+ operator combination which can crack this code the quickest will have some kind of first mover advantage in this aspect of the market.

2. Promotions – As the cost-feature mismatch between manufacturers reduces, Promotions and top-of-mind recall will be a differentiator in a major way. The huge ad-spends during IPL by every major mobile manufacturer indicate just that. Expect the bollywood and cricketing fraternity coming to your newspapers, TV screens, FM channels, roadside hoardings a lot more during the remaining quarters of 2010. Here’s another Zoozoo ad from the 2010 campaign. ( We had so many posts on the Zoozoo campaign on Strat.in last year – here’s one by Shubham )

3. 3G technology – when and if it happens! – This TOI article states that 3G auctions in India may happen in April 2010. I have been hearing about these dates for the past 18 months now, and would comment on these only when the auctions truly take place.

At the risk of digressing from the topic, I wish to quote Mr. Shyam Ponappa in an article about Spectrum management written during the budget week

India’s spectrum allocation is burdened with short-term revenue collection for the government, and a shortage mentality. There is apparently insufficient clarity on spectrum usage for ubiquitous broadband/telephony as in other countries, let alone more ambitious targets, such as developing an Indian standard.

Our policies could address the requirement for enhanced coverage/capacity at low cost to make services available everywhere at reasonable prices. Innovative approaches to spectrum management could help get these, through:

Technology-neutrality: the UK and Norway have not restricted the use of recently auctioned spectrum to any technology.

In the context of the mobile phone buyer, the 3G auction can lead to considerable changes in the buyer mindset. If the auctions of through, there can be significant shifts in the buying patterns of the feature conscious mobile buyers , particularly in the later part of the year. The auction can also be the trigger for the emergence of Apple and Android based phones to enter the Indian market in a big way.

To round it up, the market is a huge opportunity right now- the new entrants and the super-aggressive promotions happening all around are testimony to the above statement. 2010 may well be an year where (a) fragmentation can come into the market (b) mobile-buyers will increasingly become feature conscious (c) growth will come through the second time buyer.

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Politics, Sports

IPL 2010 – Indian Political League!

(Disclaimer: The views expressed below are those of the author and not of strat.in as a blog in general)

ipl-logosSee the greatness of the IPL (Indian Premier League), how highly it stands among other sporting events, which has already provided us so much drama before the play has actually begun. It is in the news all over, flashing here and there, and catching eyes of all. Media is so much excited! After all, everybody was so much bored to see bald-headed Headley and evil-smiling Rathore’s face every day at the breakfast. IPL has provided the idle-sitting cricketers something to chirp about, write columns and give fancy statements in the media. It has given some freshness to the Pakistani people who had all got bored burning effigies of the US and the Taliban. It has given Pakistani ministers something to brag about and divert attentions from more serious issues.

Anybody who is not aware of what actually happened (I doubt this), here is the summary. It all started when the star-studded Pakistani team and others, went under the hammer at the IPL auction in Mumbai. To everybody’s surprise, nobody from the T-20 champions got any call! Meaning, all the Franchise owners sidelined the Pakistani team and all of this was pre-decided. They defended themselves saying they were doubtful of Pakistani players stay in India, whether they will get a visa- or not. This makes complete sense! After all, which business group will pump money into something that gives no returns! Now, this is the rubbish part of the story we all have heard. Here is the truth-

Government of India in a media release said that it has already granted visa to 17 Pakistani Players who could go under the hammer at the auction. It said it did not interfere by any means. So why, why after all, all the franchisee ignored Pakistan? Why was Pakistan embarrassed? Reason is not too hard to guess! It was the Shiv Sena’s hard talk that haunted IPL teams. It would not let matches happen if Pakistani players played.

In the past also Shiv Sena had disrupted two Indo-Pak matches, by digging-up the pitch! This is not unusual for them. They dared the Australian team to play in Mumbai. (After ‘racist’ attacks on Indians in Australia). The MNS threatened candidates from North India who want to take a job in Maharashtra. They forced PSU banks to admit only Maharashtrians. They asked film-makers to use ‘Mumbai’ and not ‘Bombay’ in movies. They beat up an MLA for taking oath in Hindi, in the Assembly and in front of the Governor and the media. And, above all, they call themselves patriotic! They are afraid of no-one! Seems like jungle-‘raj’ going-on!

But, it is the Government which is the biggest ‘Gunda’, yes, you heard me right. Can’t they stop all this hooliganism? Can’t they teach this ‘moral police’ a lesson? Can’t they put these law-breakers and murderers behind the bars? What holds them from punishing those crooks who beat-up an MLA? Is the Government afraid of losing its vote-bank and if it is, this is the saddest part of the world’s largest ‘democracy’ where the Government has to bow to hooligans and crooks to retain power.

Everybody is free to work anywhere in India, and nobody can encroach upon this. Every Indian national is free to speak the language of his choice. I find no wrong in Shiv Sena’s (and the MNS) ideology! I support their philosophy and respect the love they have for their state. Maharashtra is a great state, it has rich culture and traditions and they are great people! I appreciate Shiv Sena and MNS for various programmes they conduct for the promotion of the Marathi language. But what I find irritating is the methods they use and misuse to promote their views. They misguide us. I hope you will agree with me.

This post is written by Puneet Yadav. He is a student at IIT Delhi, pursuing graduation in Chemical Engineering. Involved in varied extracurricular activities, Puneet has great interest in history, political affairs, management and engineering. Recently,he has developed keen interest in Fuel Cell Technology. Read his previous post here.

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Business, Technology

3 things to look forward to in 2010

As 2009 comes to a close, we keep looking at the best of 2009, the past decade and million other things. So I thought, it might well be interesting to look at what are the things we can look forward to in 2010. Here is my take on it:

joojoo1. Touchscreen tablets – Those who have used the iPhone or the iPod touch know the ‘awesomeness’ (a pure fanboy lingo used there 😉 ) associated with the user experience associated with the device. It is widely expected -atleast in the crazy world of tech-blogs that Apple would debut its Touchscreen tablet (size range 9 to 12 inches) in the New Year, perhaps even as early as Jan 2010. Whats more, another device called the JooJoo, though mired in controversy, has already started taking pre-orders. Its a capacitive touchscreen tablet worth 500 USD. Now, why is this something to look forward to? I strongly believe that the keyboards we are using today are the biggest impediments with regard to non-English languages coming onto the internet. How I would love to blog on strat/other blogs in Marathi or Hindi, even Sanskrit maybe! 2010s may well be the decade when we see a lot more people adopting the internet as a medium of communication in India and touchscreen tablets can be the tipping point of that revolution thats coming through!

commonwealth-games2. Commonwealth Games – Delhi- Most definitely from an India perspective, this is THE thing to look forward to in 2010! Not only the actual games, but also the infrastructure, the pace of development and the buildup to the same. The pedigree which India achieves as a host of Commonwealth Games would go a long,long way in getting the Olympics in India. While as a nation of billion people, everyone acknowledges that Olympics cannot NOT be held in India for long, but still, India should earn the right to host the event rather than the event being given by the IOC. I would most definitely go to New Delhi for the games, when they happen.

3. Stand on climate change – While the Copen Hagen conference didn’t quite live up to the expectations, climate change hopefully will be the issue where the world takes definitive steps. While we agree that the issue is a complicated one, which would have major implications for every nation involved, the whole world realises the need to resolve this burning question. This speech by Obama brings hope, but what may actually materialise is a matter of speculation.

Thats my 3 things! You can add your 3 things in comments section. Lets discuss what 2010 may hold for everyone of us as we bid farewell to the first decade of the 21st century!

(Image credits: 1 2)

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