Our Guest Post today comes from Kimberly Lang. Kim has been to Europe, South America and Asia more than a dozen times. She loves to write about travel and emerging international tech trends.
India is going through a digital revolution, bringing about changes in Web connectivity and VoIP market opportunity. The country's citizens are adopting smartphone on a vast scale not only for call connectivity, but also for data service usage via. This rapid access to mobile connectivity in recent years means there are some 800 million phones in a country of 1.2 billion people.
Let's look deeper into how mobile phone growth in India and VoIP access are related, and how VoIP operators may look to this market for expansion.
Digital Influence of Smartphones
There has been a phenomenal growth spurt in the number of India's citizens connected via smart mobile devices, according to a 2013 study on the country's digital growth. The BCG report "Capitalizing on India's Digitally Influenced Consumers" notes that India's population puts it squarely behind China to become the next largest market for mobile device use in the world. BCG's report estimates that by 2016, nearly 60 percent of all of India's online consumers will access the Internet via their smartphone devices.
Prices are dropping for smartphones, leading many who already had call-only phones to upgrade to data-intensive smartphones. It's unsurprising to see Indian consumers using phones for more than just basic voice calls and texting. Now, Indians are more apt to use their Web-enabled smartphones to access streaming movies and videos, use chat software, play online games and connect locally and internationally with family and friends via social networks, connected via mobile.
With that enormous market comes a great opportunity for VoIP providers. The study "India VoIP Market Forecast and Opportunities, 2017" finds that changes in the country's telecoms laws to allow VoIP is helping to lead to an explosion in India's residential VoIP market. By 2017, the market for VoIP subscribers will increase 27 percent in India. This fast-growing Internet connectivity is also complemented by mobile carriers implementing new LTE networks around the country.
However, VoIP subscribers may have to contend with government intervention, according to Business Standard. India's Ministry of Home Affairs wants providers of VoIP services to ensure that Indian-specific versions are made available so the government can monitor them. Otherwise, the MHA may look to block these incoming signals that can't be monitored properly. It's a page out of the Chinese government's playbook, but it's unclear how this may be enacted.
The MHA is asking the Department of Telecommunications to possibly block unsolicited sites via 'honey traps'. These honey traps detect and can avoid information systems with unauthorized usage. The DoT could add filters to limit data flow through services like Skype, for instance, or some sites could be possibly blocked at the DNS level using a variety of filters.
The government's intervention could be seen as a response to fear of the unknown. Some fear that countrywide Web access via VoIP may produce changes in Indian business and society. This could include how Indians relate to one another, how they work in business and how security-driven operations like banking and other business aspects are managed via smartphones.