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M-Commerce coming of age in India

From the Tatas to the Ambanis to the Bhartis, the biggest companies are in the telecommunications arena.

india Updated: Aug 03, 2006 13:26 IST

The Great Indian Telecom Story

The biggest and the best organizations are in it. From the Tatas to the Ambanis to the Bhartis, the biggest companies are in the telecommunications arena. India is the second largest mobile handset market in the world.

Just name an international telecom brand. Nokia, Qualcomm, Sony, Motorola just name it and it is here. Other big players are on the way to setting up base in India.

According to reports the total market for handsets alone was valued at Rs 8.05 billion ($2 billion) in 2005 and this will surge by 62 per cent with approximately 100-million subscribers nationwide by 2007.

A Monthly Budget for Talking

Very few industries have witnessed the kind of growth telecom has seen in India. In the last five years the mobile has literally been a part of the upwardly mobile average Indian.

The chaiwala, the taxi wala, the farmer, the housewife, the kabadiwala, just about everyone has a monthly budget to keep his or her mobile phone ringing. According to current estimates, there are more than 100 million mobile users as against approximately 98 million in early 2006 (Trai March 2006). 

Late last year in a single month 2.9 million new subscribers added: the GSM subscriber base grew by 2.11 million users (for a total of 65 million) and the CDMA platform added 0.8 million (for a total 20 million).

M-Commerce - The Commerce of Convenience

Telecom leaders like Reliance and Airtel have taken the lead in offering m-commerce services. From bill payments to airline and railway ticketing to booking movie tickets and other random services, they offer it all.

M-Commerce in India is on a huge growth path and hybrid m-commerce service providers such as Paymate now offers innovative services never-heard-of before.

Letting your cell pay the bills

The future is here and we all know that. But imagine your cell actually paying your food bill in a restaurant. Well that could be a reality in the coming days if m-commerce service provider Paymate is to be believed.

PayMate allows mobile subscribers to make payments for merchant services using their cell phones. It is connected to merchants and banks to enable transactions.

What's more it does not require any additional software or SIM upgrade to process transactions. PayMate allows a transaction to be completed with a single SMS (one click) technology. You can use your debit and credit card and don't have to disclose any banking information.

Why M-Commerce is the next big thing in India?

The telecom story in India is a huge success. A 100 million plus mobile users is a dream come true for marketers. If that's not all, the numbers are growing by as much as 3 million a month. These are hugely in favour of m-commerce. Now looking at some relative figures. Mobile phone users in India outnumber credit and debit cards and Internet users 2.5 to 1.

Mobile Commerce - the future is calling

A small text message has changed it all. When mobile was introduced, not even the biggest telecom expert had predicted the impact of SMS on Indian life. Relationship to reporting to just about every small communication is textual. Now even payments and transactions are done through the SMS. The future is here.

Puneet Mehrotra is a web strategist at www.cyberzest.com and edits www.thebusinessedition.com you can email him on puneet@cyberzest.com