Mobile penetration in India is above 500 million and thats not a new story. Its been oft repeated that in India a large mass would access the internet via mobiles but still the serious active mobile internet population was recently pegged at just 2 million!
So while all this might look murky the future according to a latest report by mobileSquared looks very bright. As per this report mobile internet users in Asia are likely to boom big time by 2015. So much so that the total mobile internet users in India is likely to cross 260 million! (thats half of the current mobile penetration!).
The report states that the uptake of 3G would be responsible for this meteoric rise for mobile internet users in India. So India may have 260 million mobile internet users but it would be trailing China with millions of users as China alone will contribute 58% of all mobile Internet users across Asia by 2015, with over 800 million users.
Why these statistics seem lofty?
Mobile internet in my book needs to be defined better! If we consider hits on the operator websites and downloads of wallpaper and ringtones as mobile internet then these numbers seem fair. But if we consider actual mobile browsing and use of mobiles for email, communication, chat, social networking, collaboration etc then these numbers are surely lofty to say the least.
In my book mobile internet would become a serious play in India once transactions and penetration as well as access converge. This would need the roll out of 3G, mobile payments services to graduate and also the access to mobile internet from a devices and operators perspective.