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December 12, 2008

India’s next generation

DELHI, India – Yesterday was a significant day for mobile users in India, where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh launched the first 3G network by taking a video call and watching live TV on his phone. The service is currently running as a pilot for a limited number of users in Delhi, but a full scale consumer launch is expected in February.

India already has a huge number of mobile users and although the country is vast, the roll out of 3G networks will genuinely change the way people use and access information there. We don’t need to repeat (but we will) the story about how more people will access the Internet on their phones than on a PC, and the introduction of 3G is a significant step to making this happen.

Before the service can roll out properly though the spectrum needs to be allocated to operators, which the Indian government expects to happen in January, according to Reuters. Some operators expect to be able to roll out 3G services within six months of the allocation happening. So, by the end of 2009, mobile usage, and Internet consumption, could change massively as new users adopt, and adapt to, new services.

I don’t think it’s an overstatement to suggest this is one of the most profound things to happen for developing world mobile users. We’ve already seen plenty of instances of how mobile usage has changed lives, even with access to simple SMS-based applications. What difference could it make having access to a whole world of applications, services and information? I honestly can’t wait to find out. How about you?

Photo by Shashwat