Previously, getting a landline connection was a Herculean task. As our fore-fathers remember it was very common to wait for years together to get a single landline connection. And finally when it was done, the possession of a landline connection was considered as a matter of dignity by the people around.

The World can be divided into 3 regions based on the advent of Mobile technology and the Internet Technology (according to a study).

  1. The countries where Internet came in first. Eg: USA.

  2. The countries where Internet and Mobiles came together. Eg: Europe.

  3. The countries where mobiles came before Internet. Eg: Asia.

Mobiles have captured the imagination of India. The M culture is considered the next big commercial thing. Mobiles now dominate as the method of communication, SMS being the easiest means to communicate (most popular with youth), also serve as portable music systems, tour/ route guides with GPRS services and most importantly as the fashion statement. ? Mobile phones in India have become a passion, more than a necessity. In early 1997, Essar was the first company to get license to launch a public mobile service in North India mainly Delhi. That was the time when this mobile mania was born and by the end of 2005, the number of mobile subscribers have exceeded the landline subscribers count.

New technologies relating to mobiles are erupting rapidly. They are replacing the landline phones and other electronic devices. The advent of mobiles into the market marked the slow and silent death of pagers, walkman and other such gadgets. The mobiles can also be used to remember things (by keeping reminders), as an alarm system, as a handy notepad to make references to name a few.

With the advent of the mobile era, the types of mobile phones on a broad classification are two: a GSM phone or a CDMA phone. The CDMA phone is the one which has an inbuilt SIM card and it can be used with only the same SIM card and number. A very well known service provider which has widely adopted this is Reliance. The user has no power to change the number or SIM card. The only way to do so is to go through the service provider (locked phones).

The other type is GSM phones. It has the option to change the SIM cards with no necessity of going to the service provider to do so. This provides the user the flexibility to change his/ her number as per their desires and without any hassles.

Recently, the mobile phone handsets started coming with the provision of accepting the GSM or CDMA SIM card. The most recent development in this field is the availability of a dual SIM phone, where the phones have provision to take two SIM cards (GSM and/or CDMA).

With more than 20 mobile operators in the country operating in various regions, the country is well connected with mobile network. There are various companies like Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, Samsung, Sagem, LG whose mobile phones are available in the market. Motorola and Nokia are the earliest players selling mobile phones in India.

There is also a great variety of mobiles available these days. Simple monochrome screen phones to smart phones, all types of phones are available in the market. India is a major hub of mobile phone companies and one of the world’s biggest mobile phone market bases.

Everyone with every kind of pocket can find one mobile. This has made the life of people extremely easy. There is nothing better than the freedom from wires to talk. With the services become more and more cheap, the mobile phone companies have to lower the prices of their mobile handsets. In past 10 years, the mobile phone industry has grown tremendously and its growth is still accelerating.

In order to match the pace with which mobile phones are gaining popularity, the private sector grows the services provided with fixed lines, and this includes the call charges coming down to that being charged by the mobile phone service providers. All this can almost be considered as efforts in vain as the mobile services are set for further growth, for example, the Internet facility now accessible on phones.

As stated above, India is poised to become the third largest mobile population in world by 2007 as middle classes "go mobile." Mobile ownership will pass 100 million in 2007 as "the largest middle class in the world" takes up ownership. With 115.3 million forecasted mobile owners in 2007, India ranks third in the world behind only China and the U.S. SMS/Messaging revenues in India will pass one billion dollars annually in 2007.

Aside from messaging, mobile gaming, also known as advergaming, is turning out to be the stickiest mobile application, where consumers play with a brand with the lure of winning a prize, and in the process take away key messages of the brand.

According to a provider of mobile brand marketing solutions in Asia, "Advergaming has the ability to involve users, to get them to interact, to entertain and engage them, and in doing so facilitate the attention value exchange that most marketers dream about. Ads will go where the eyeballs are, and cellular games are the fastest growing form of entertainment. It's a trend of blending advertising and entertainment."

Some interesting facts:

  • A decade ago, cell phones were the size of cordless handsets and outgoing local calls from cell phones would set you back by Rs. 16 per minute.

  • SMS started free of cost in India and they were cheaper than call charges (which had reached upto Rs. 20 per minute too).

  • With the cheapest call rates in India as compared to the world, people just cannot stop messaging (almost like a contagious disease).

  • India has come in a close second in the sale of mobile phones in the year 2006. China has led the race of mobile sales being the highest in the world.

  • Motorola is in collaboration with Bharti Airtel to offer MOTOMUSIC.

  • Reliance is making efforts to expand in United States.

  • Nokia still owns the majority of the people as compared to other handset providers.

  • New models of mobiles are probably released in India at the same time, or earlier than they are released in US or Europe. (Eg: Nokia N72)

Sankalp Unit