RIM India MD Sunil Dutt: smartphone adoption to grow in 2013

Telecom Lead Asia: Sunil Dutt, managing director, Research In Motion India (RIM), said 27 million smartphone urban users or 9 percent of phone users offer immense opportunities for smartphone adoption in India in 2013.

Sunil Dutt, managing director, Research In Motion India (RIM)

For many of us in the mobile industry 2012 has been a year when there has been a lot to celebrate and an equal amount to be concerned about. Restrictions and regulations are growing. As we all know, that can cut both ways: too much regulation and we might see constraints on growth.

For us in the mobile device business, it is time to re-imagine everything, thanks to the spurt in smartphone adoption, the increasing use of tablets and the growing comfort levels with technologies such as cloud that are making it easy for consumers to access their data from anywhere at any time at seriously low costs.

Year 2013 will witness colossal strides of innovation in the field of mobile devices where we will continue to witness powerful yet efficient processors clubbed with technologies such as NFC, 4G, and of course applications. In the coming years, the hardware of these mobile devices has to keep pace with the giant shift taken in the software segment and thus we can expect to see superior and more refined specifications in mobile devices in the future. In the recent past, the war in the OS market has been heating up and in 2013 the mobile industry is expected to climb onto the next phase of evolution, i.e, Mobile Computing. It is a revolutionary phenomenon which is going to redefine the mobile industry.

There is no doubt in our mind regarding the fact that India, as a mobile market in 2013, is going to be in the midst of all the action. In fact, the lead indicators of what 2013 holds are before us: There are just 27 million smartphone urban users in India – which is barely 9 percent of total mobile phone users. This means there is a massive room for growth in smartphone adoption in India and we have barely seen the tip of the smartphone frenzy. This pent-up demand will drive amazing innovation in markets such as India and rest of the world will stand to benefit from it. Access to better networks is also fuelling the growth of mobile devices. Year-on-year 3G subscriber growth in India is 841 percent (China 115 percent, U.S. was 31 percent, the UK 25 percent and Japan 9 percent in comparison).

Additionally, there can be no denying that the National Telecom Policy 2012 has had a big and positive impact on the mobile industry. We believe that the first four objectives of the policy are crucial-

1) Provide secure, affordable and high quality telecom services,

2) Increase rural tele-density from around 39 to 70 by 2017 and 100 by 2020,

3) Provide affordable broadband by 2015, to achieve 175 million broadband connections by 2017 and 600 million by 2020 and

4) Enable citizens to participate in e-governance in sectors such as health, education, skill development, employment, banking etc to ensure equitable growth. Further, the policy clearly specifies the urgent requirement of technological solutions that can reach out to larger population of the country. It becomes imperative for mobile phone manufacturers as well as services providers to tap that opportunity, especially when the government, RBI, regulatory body, industrial associations and various other concerned stakeholders are talking about the urgent requirement to emphasis on mobile banking technology. In the coming months of 2013, we should see the government putting its money where its mouth is by encouraging and enabling telecom operators to fulfill those targets.

The good news is that unlike the internet, mobile is not a mere bubble. Users over mobile platform are willing to pay for services and giving the required boost to the industry. Add to this the potential for mobile commerce, innovation around video that is still in its infancy on the mobile, advertising and app revenues and we have a thriving mobile eco-system.

RIM India MD Sunil Dutt
[email protected]