By now, every Indian carrier (except STel) has launched 3G, with multiple services and various tariff plans, as well as varying uptake.
Globally, 3G services have been available for a long time - almost ten years in Japan. Carriers in various international markets have adopted different strategies while launching 3G services.
While carriers in developed markets initially focused on enterprise customers, carriers in developing markets (launching 3G relatively later) targeted retail consumers and offered the high speed wireless technology as a potential broadband option to the consumers.
Indian operators, specially incumbents, currently face multiple structural challenges such as congested networks and limited available spectrum (5MHz) to offer 3G enabled data optimized services at launch.
A “walled garden” approach to value added services, prevalent piracy and Indian consumers’ lack of willingness to pay for such services also pose a huge challenge for immediate uptake of 3G services.
But once the 3G device prices decrease and the tariffs stabilize in the first two years, Knowledgefaber believes that the 3G uptake will rise in 2013 and reach over 90 million by March 2014.
Among the various 3G enabled services launched by the carriers, mobile internet services are expected to garner revenues of over $4.5 billion, with over 80% of 3G subscribers adopting these services by March 2015.
Although location based services are currently at a nascent stage, Knowledgefaber believes that various services such as mobile gaming and mobile surveillance will increasingly use 3G enabled location based services in future.