First rule of first principle thinking, do not use first principle thinking when a mental model is available

Category: gprs

Mobile Web Requests India ???

First it was Admob and now it is Russ with Mowser (long ago it was Scott Rafer) who is saying that India generates a large number of mobile web requests.

This is quite very puzzling to me as it is to many. I have never witnessed use of GPRS/WAP or have not used it myself much (which by no means is any indicator as I also don’t use CRBT, wallpapers etc). Personally what I do with GPRS connection is check mails and occasionally read blogs and that happenes only when I am travelling.

I am trying hard to find out who are these people generating so many requests and what are they looking for. Just yesterday I happended to read a slightly old post from Amit @ Labnol about about how to use Mowser and other proxy based mobile content adatation engines to view regular websites through dialup connections. More than one third of the 9.2 million (pdf) internet users that TRAI estimates (pdf) India has are dialup users.

Many of these requests that Russ is seeing could be regular web users on dialup using mowser to enhance their browsing experience. (if it is really the case then I think it is really cool – IMHO it’s an Indian Jugaad). Russ did you check the hits that you are getting are really from mobile browsers ?

Indian mobile data and GPRS is a supply side problem

The more and more I come to think about it , I think the lack of uptake of mobile data is a supply side problem rather than a demand side as it is drummed up to be.  I am a little tired now of  hearing the myth of 50-10-2 about GPRS since the last two years which is that   there are 50 million GPRS capable handset, 10 million GPRS enabled hanset while only 2 million active GPRS users. Now come on even the total mobile numbers have more than doubled since the last two years.  Also whatever is in supply is completely tangential from what is demanded and which ironically gets  portrayed like this. There are large enough number of users tapping their mobile key pads ( or willing to do that) to access some kind of mobile data other than SMS/voice but they find it hard to get anything meaningful. Asif Ali of Mobil-Worx has good data points to back up this argument.

GPRS Airtel

Veer mentions about a welcome move from Hutch on zero rental for GPRS from Hutch. As he rightly says any move from telcos in increasing data services adoption is always a welcome move and in India more than anything it is pricing which is the critical factor drives adoption.

In the same context I wanted to highlight’s Airtel’s service the recent structure of which I like a lot and I am not sure if it is much publicly known.

Airtel has divided its data as service into three categories.

Airtel Live: (pre installed on all pre-paid & post paid) – But this is the complete example of walled garden. A user is able to do GPRS but the only site that is browsable is Airtel WAP site. Airtel I am told makes a lot of money on this through ringtone & downloads.This is of not much use to me.

Airtel Online: This is a service which has to be activated by sending two SMS is charged at Rs 5/day. In this service one can browse any WAP site and it is eat as much as you can – unlimited option . It is charged on a daily basis and can be shutdown any time by sending another SMS. I use this option and it works really great, the best part about this as Manoj had mentioned in MoMo Delhi is that it works even if GSM network is down. My GSM connection had stopped working while I was in Mumbai & Delhi but I was happily browsing blog posts through my GPRS connection.

( For activation send SMS

AO to 6333

&
ALL to 2567 )

( For cancellation send SMS
AO CNCL to 222 )
Airtel Mobile: This option allows you to make use of your mobile phone to connect to your Laptop/PC and enable internet connection to your Laptop/PC. This is again an unlimited download option and is charged at Rs 20/day. It can be activated by sending one SMS. The connection is active from the time it is activated to the next day morning ~11 am. If you wish to continue you would have to send another SMS. I have not tried this but have heard mixed reviews about this.

( For activation send SMS

MO to 6123)

If one really looks at it the price points are not much different from the competitors. Airtel Online comes pit tp ne 150 Rs/month and Airtel Mobile is 600Rs/month. But the model adopted is what is remarkable which gives a lot of control to the user.

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