GPRS and m-blogging in India

Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson are excited about the potential of m-blogging in the Metros according to this article in the Economic Times. The article is bullish about the future of m-blogging but does not really put across any hard facts.

Notice the fact that of the consumers who opt for a GPRS-enabled handheld, less than one in 4 opt for GPRS from their mobile provider. Only the carriers have themselves to blame for the current trend. I believe that poor support for GPRS services and awareness of applications for the service are to blame.

There are over 156 million mobile subscribers in India. According to industry estimates, around 10% of mobile subscribers in metros use GPRS facility and 2-3% in tier II and III cities have hooked on to GPRS facility, which allows fast internet access on mobiles. Approximately 40-45% phones sold in India are GPRS enabled. According to IDC, in India the sale of camera phones is registering around 25% quarter-on-quarter growth.

Globally there are 200 million bloggers. Industry estimates put 100,000 as the figure for India. (According to Blog Herald, there are 1.2 million bloggers in India). And the number is growing. “The number of m-bloggers is fast growing though the trend is just an year old,” says Nokia’s Mr Taneja. Nokia N series has m-blogging feature to capture the potential of this segment.

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16 Comments on “GPRS and m-blogging in India”

  1. Mandar says:

    Similar to earlier comment, the providers need to come up with pricing models that will allure end users to this world. How about giving out 30 mins of free surfing or X MB free data transfer with some medium sized billing plan? Users will use it first to see how is the experience and then just to utilize the facility that is included in their plan. I hate this kind of marketting but I feel it works at least to force people to try something new.

    – Mandar

  2. Pranav says:

    Not to mention two other factors:

    1) GPRS is very,very slow. I dont have first hand experience. But this is what I gathered based on what my friends told me.

    2) Getting the GPRS profile settings and stuff is a pain in the ass. I can attest to this since I tried to get GPRS activated on my dad’s cell phone. And the crazy ass Hutch support folks had no clue on doing it efficiently.

    I guess m-blogging and other VAS related stuff needs to wait till 3G is in place.

  3. Santosh says:

    @Pranav – don’t Hutch push out pre-configured GPRS settings for different phones like AirTel does? It is possible to do so using service messages, I think.

  4. Pranav says:

    Santosh,

    They do…But if you run into any issues, the support folks have no clue about debugging the profile settings and the likes..

    for some reason, the profile settings they pushed to my phone wouldnt work.

  5. Santosh says:

    Conveniently blame it on ‘Last mile’ issues 😉

    Customer service is very important.

  6. Arvind says:

    Excellent blog Santosh,

    I really like the information given here. I wanted to know the source for your information when you said “Industry Estimates”.

    Is it based on some report – IDC, Garnter?

    Thanks.

  7. Sameer says:

    well till the time operators dont let people exprince GPRS the situation will not change. giving free service for trail has worked well for operators in past remember how sms wee free iniatially and then we all got hokes on them and never left texting even when we started geting charged, the onus ies ere on the operators to facilitate and educate users on gprs and then st back and reap the rewards. what surpriss me is that there is no statistic which throws light on actual GPRS users in india, i guess even the trai statistics of 38 milion are overstated as they have included every user who has ever downloaded a ringtone or wallpaper from the operators walled garden wap site lik airtel live etc

  8. Santosh says:

    Hey Sameer,

    I had no idea SMS was free initially. Great point!

    – Santosh

  9. bryanh says:

    Slammy! I just found this through twitter, ironically.

    Data adoption will come; whether it’s GPRS or otherwise. The article itself is a little laughable because industry people see m-blogging as “taking a picture and posting it for your friends.” Typical SMS-centric-thinking.

    The power of m-blogging isn’t in my ability to POST out to my friends (since, according to forester, most people aren’t “creators”), but in my ability to subscribe (ie via rss or twitter) and monitor what people are doing.

    I saw the power of this first hand at sxsw where i was “following” people (that I don’t know personally) on twitter, and they were talking about which bars they were at, interesting events/ talks happening. I suppose it’s the fact that the people i’m “communicating” with AREN’T my friends that makes m-blogging more interesting to me.

  10. riya says:

    hi,
    I am doing a research on integration of health care services n mobile application example-u can get appointment through sms or may be once u have feed the prescription on your handset u will be probed when u need to take the medicine etc).If u have any relevant information about the same plz share it.My email -riya.bvp@gmail.com

  11. SAGAR BHATIA says:

    Hi,

    We have applications which can solve all this purpose. Application called as KONEKT by MOBIKON technology, which works on GPRS.With this application you can book table in any restaurant , home delivery even you can ask for a painter,electrician….infact they are working on doctors appointment too. you just need to type KONEKT and send it to 56070, then you can install the application on to your handset.

  12. Jack says:

    More than free mbs and downloads – what is needed is strong applications which will drive data usage.

  13. Moblog says:

    Even we launched a free Mobile Blogging Platform MoBlog and we are dissapointed. Mobile blogging is so in thing elsewhere but not for Indian Bloggers.
    Get your MoBlog at http://moblob.mobi

  14. GooseBerry has made it possible to be connected with your Emails 24 X 7, without internet or GPRS connection. You can receive and reply to your emails using SMS. You can select which emails get to reach you on your phone. The Email content is compressed by upto 30% to ensure that you get only the important part of email on your phone. All that one needs is a mobile phone that supports SMS. It works across GSM and CDMA networks.

    Typically people spend heavily on costly devices (20 – 30K) and data plans (800 – 1100 per month) to be able to stay in touch with their emails. WithGooseBerry you can acheive the same with as amount low as Rs 95 per month! A 40 person company can save around Rs 24 Lakh over a 2.5 years period by using GooseBerry instead of currently available options.
    Gooseberry supports 37 email servers as of Jan 2009, including corporate emails, gmail, yahoo, ibibo etc. Every day support for more email servers is being added as users from various companies are requesting for the same.

    Few Advantages of GooseBerry.in
    The service runs on any mobile on the planet without needing to install anything.

    You don’t need to have a special hardware i:e Blackberry or Mobile with GPRS/3G capability
    Cost: The cost of this service is a fraction of the rental cost of Blackberry or data plan (GPRS) which you would have.
    You can create filters so that you dont get unwanted emails on your device.

    There are no extra charges on roaming as well (Saves quite a bit of money).

    It takes minutes to start this service for you.

    With every one going into cost saving mode, this might be the solution companies are looking for!

  15. GooseBerry has made it possible to be connected with your Emails 24 X 7, without internet or GPRS connection. You can receive and reply to your emails using SMS. You can select which emails get to reach you on your phone. The Email content is compressed by upto 30% to ensure that you get only the important part of email on your phone. All that one needs is a mobile phone that supports SMS. It works across GSM and CDMA networks.

    Typically people spend heavily on costly devices (20 – 30K) and data plans (800 – 1100 per month) to be able to stay in touch with their emails. WithGooseBerry you can acheive the same with as amount low as Rs 95 per month! A 40 person company can save around Rs 24 Lakh over a 2.5 years period by using GooseBerry instead of currently available options.
    Gooseberry supports 37 email servers as of Jan 2009, including corporate emails, gmail, yahoo, ibibo etc. Every day support for more email servers is being added as users from various companies are requesting for the same.

    Few Advantages of GooseBerry.in
    The service runs on any mobile on the planet without needing to install anything.

    You don’t need to have a special hardware i:e Blackberry or Mobile with GPRS/3G capability
    Cost: The cost of this service is a fraction of the rental cost of Blackberry or data plan (GPRS) which you would have.
    You can create filters so that you dont get unwanted emails on your device.

    There are no extra charges on roaming as well (Saves quite a bit of money).

    It takes minutes to start this service for you.

    With every one going into cost saving mode, this might be the solution companies are looking for

  16. Susheel says:

    i am using gprs (EDGE) for the last two years for google maps, emails, weather, etc and its fast enough for the purpose but very slow for downloading softwares, etc purpose…there is no awareness for the internet connectivity and the rates should be cheaper also…