LBS – The key to GPRS usage

Telecom companies in India should take note of it very very seriously.

We all know the state of GPRS usage in India today, inspite of bringing the rentals down to zero and the data usage costs down dramatically, the mobile broadband is yet to take off and help these Telco(s) build some serious dollars.

While all the big bet is around the mobile audio and video, it appears that location based services may be the appropriate answer.

Why?

Perhaps the answer is very simple. Perhaps, it lies in our general behavior i.e. that of the consumer.

Services other than text messaging and push email are “special purpose” applications requiring creation of a new behavior, such as watching video on a handset or vehicle navigation. Very much like voice, text messaging and push email are general-purpose communications applications.

One can argue that “where am I?”, “where are things I want?” and “how do I get there” are general behavioral patterns and thus lead to general purpose applications under LBS bouquet.

And one can argue that general-purpose apps obviously have broader appeal. It is therefore, conceivable that location-based services might have more potential, for these obvious consumer behaviour.

Let us also look at the study below:

Mobile application usage

The study clearly indicates that the local information and Maps/directions are the most wanted services in US. But how does it look like in India?

Local Information: Local search has come out to be the next hot thing after the social networking in India. JustDial, AskLaila, OnYoMo, Guruji, Ziva, KhojGuru etc. are some of the testimonies to it.

Maps/Navigation: The place for map/navigation is still wide open and to be tapped in India. The only strong contender today are Google (with it’s wiki approach) and Nokia (with it’s controlled content approach). RouteGuru in near future? Only the time will tell.

If not pictures, numbers says it all

1. There will be 28 million U.S. mobile broadband subscribers (primarily using third generation platforms) by the end of 2008, about 14% of all wireless users – Researchers at Yankee group estimate.

2. Strategy Analytics projects total end-user spending on location-aware mobile services in North America will expand from $110 million at the end of 2006 to $2.2 billion by the end of 2011 at a CAGR (Cumulative Aaverage Growth Rate) of 72%.

3. According to Nielsen Mobile, LBS grew to account for 58.2% of total application revenues, up from 51.4% the previous quarter.

While service providers have taken the local search seriously, it still goes perfect via USSD and the SMS medium. The personal navigation however definitely demands for a mobile broadband. Isn’t it the right time that they should take us really seriously?

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