MUMBAI, INDIA: With mobility on the rise among India small and medium businesses, the market has witnessed a significant shift towards adoption of mobile devices and services such as smart phones, tablets, wireless cards, data plans and hosted applications. More than two thirds of India SMBs (companies having more than 1,000 employees) own at least one smart phone or tablet, and almost half plan to purchase more devices in the next year.
“The availability of low-cost smart phones and tablets has fueled demand among India SMBs–as has the launch of competitively priced 3G data plans,” says Neha Jalan, senior associate at AMI-Partners. “The India government has proactively driven the launch of Aakash, an Android-based tablet computer originally projected as the $35 computer (the price for which has since gone up slightly). Also driving this demand are various other devices from both PC and telecom vendors priced to range between the Aakash and Apple’s iPad (considered to be the best-known and most expensive tablet in the market).”
Smart phones have become an issue of strategic importance to the majority of India SMBs. Over half of these businesses would consider replacing desk phones with smart phones, thereby providing advanced calling features to remote/mobile employees. “India SMBs have traditionally shown a penchant for staying connected to partners,” says Ms. Jalan. “This attitude is translating into an increased adoption of smart phones, which offer the twin benefits of anytime, anywhere voice and data connectivity.”
Primary users of smart phones and tablets tend to be owners/senior management who are frequently traveling and therefore rely on these devices for basic applications such as email, contact and calendar information in order to be continuously connected.
India telecom service providers are eagerly awaiting both this increased acceptance of mobile devices among company employees and the widespread adoption of sophisticated applications such as business application solutions and industry-specific applications. India’s cash-strapped telcos are eager to increase average revenues per user (ARPU) as cost-conscious SMBs move to higher-usage data plans and increase purchases of smart phone applications offered by these vendors.