Almost all TV stations in India are playing this great new commercial of Eskimos coming to India. The commercial shows a person searching for Eskimos using guess what, Live Search for Mobile. Now Hutch has tied up with Microsoft Live Search sometime back and this commercial is great in the sense that this is the first time I am seeing Microsoft Live Search in India. The ad makes it look all very simple thus perhaps this will encourage more people to use GPRS services and add to Hutch's ARPU which at Rs 390 is now second to Airtel's Rs 406 (Data as of Mar 31, 2007). Brand wise I feel Microsoft has scored well this time. The Live Search logo is positioned at the top of search box and then on top of search results (saying Powered by Live Search).
Google has already joined the party by having a partnership with Bharti Airtel (No.1 service provider in India, >40 Million Mobile Customers) in Dec 2006. Well, I could not find data on GPRS usage in India and closest I could get was this blog post at Startup Dunia and another blog post at WATblog. From WATblog:
Indian GSM mobile phone service providers signed up a record 6.1 million customers in March, taking total users to 121.4 million. (Via: Financial Express)
121.4 million GSM users, that is pretty massive! That’s a lot of handsets around!
During yesterday’s panel discussion one got some nice figures…
50-60 million of these 121.4 million GSM users have data capable phones.
10-15 million of these users actually know what is GPRS and have at some point used their phone to access data.
2-3 million of these have used it more than once and use it predominantly to download wallpapers, ringtones etc.
0.2 million of these use GPRS to regularly access Email on their mobiles and can be termed as active users of GPRS.
So from 121.4 million we are down to 0.2 million. That is pretty pathetic.
Figure of 0.2 Million looks pretty low to believe it but even if we increase the number to 1-2 Million, it is still around 1 % of the total mobile base in India. So what are Google and Microsoft hunting for? In my view, they are right now just riding with the Service Providers who are more concerned as against MSFT/GOOG and want to increase the ARPU while managing the churn.