‘Mass Adoption of 4G is 2-3 Years Away’
India's top telcos may have bought 1800 MHz spectrum recently with an eye on 4G services, but the market is not yet ready for services on the technology, which is still two to three years away from large-scale adoption, says Idea Cellular's chief marketing officer Sashi Shankar. Speaking to ET's Danish Khan, Shankar adds that 3G still has a large role to play where the key for the industry is to increase the number of users. Cheaper handsets will play a key role in boosting 3G. Excerpts: How do you look at the Indian 4G market? India’s 4G market is in its early days currently. 3G still has to play a large role and then the migration will happen. We still feel that mass adoption of 4G services is 2-3 years away. What is your marketing strategy to increase 3G adoption? The key for the whole industry is increasing number of users. Because number of data users is very low in India. We try and get people to try out our data network and see things which are relevant to them. We need to inculcate the habit of feeling that mobile internet is useful for them. People need to understand that mobile internet is something to be done, unlike voice which comes naturally. How important are devices for increasing data uptake? We want device prices to keep going down far more than the world has. And, then we should be able to see huge uptake in terms of 3G. Today, more and more people prefer a larger screen for data. We already have 4-5 smartphones with the lowest one at around .` 4,500 going up to .` 12,000. We are consistently on the lookout for giving smartphones both at mid-and lower-end. Why are some circles not performing well for Idea? Those are our new circles, where we had launched services and due to licence cancellation, lost permits. We rebid for those circles and won licences to operate. And, we are ensuring that with more new subscribers, we are able to get the right share to Idea. Presently, we are in customer acquisition mode in those circles. Post that, we should bring it out to profitability with the help of parameters like price and MoU (minutes of usage). What could be the new revenue streams for Idea Cellular? Going forward, things that are already happening in developed world like mobile advertising, mobile health could be revenue streams. Enterprise segment could also be a big revenue stream.