If mobile is the future of Internet, which companies are ready for it?

Written by: Madhur

On Dec 14th, 2006

Much has been talked about the potential of mobile in India. You can read some details here, here and here. We have ~150 million mobile subscribers compared to ~40 million Internet subscribers. In the month of September itself, India added 6.2 million subscribers. The total number of subscribers is going to touch 200 million by 2010. The SMS traffic is going to touch 180 billion in 2010. India happens to be among the top 10 registrants of the .mobi domain. You get the point. Mobile is huge. So I compiled together a list of consumer Internet companies that are taking mobile seriously and have taken initiative on making their service available on mobile platform. Note that there are tons of other companies that provide value added services for mobiles, mobile software etc., here I am concentrating primarily on Internet companies that are leveraging mobile as an alternate medium of providing their service. I was actually amazed to find out that you can do so much even without having data connectivity – just by using simple SMS. My sense is that still none of these have really gained a lot of traction among the masses, but they are taking a step in the right direction and hopefully someone will figure out the magic formula of making the users addicted to their service on mobile.

Local information (probably one of the most handy services)
Onyomo provides search by SMS for local (yellow page type) information
Mapmyindia have their service available for Airtel customers

Travel Tickets (One of the hottest segments in the Indian markets)
FlightRaja has flight booking via SMS.
IndiGo has a mobile service for browsing and booking tickets.
Rediff is providing their FareSearch service for mobile

Social Networking
Yaari has a mobile service using which users can browse profiles on mobile and connect with each other by exchanging messages.

Online Real Estate
MagicBricks.com has a service that allows users to send free SMS through the website to individual property sellers, buyers and agents for inquiries on properties listed on the site.

Jeevansaathi has matrimonial search via SMS.
Supposedly BharatMatrimony is going to launch a mobile service soon too.

Naukri.com has a mobile product called Insta Hire. Apparently, it enables recruitment over mobile phone and reduces the lead time in connecting a recruiter and the candidate.
SMSResume.com allows you to send your resume (stored beforehand on their servers) urgently to recruiters/employers.

The country’s all leading newspapers and channels already provide news alerts on mobile phones including Times, Hindu, etc.

GMail is available to mobile users via GPRS
MSN provides its Hotmail service via SMS to about 70% of the Indian mobile user base and plan to cover the remaining market soon.

Books search
Oxfordbookstore has SMS search for their inventory

Online Lotto
Online lottery company Playwin Infravest has launched the Mobile Lotto in Mumbai. Currently the service is available to the subscribers of Orange and BPL Mobile in Mumbai.

Paymate is a company that enables payment with single SMS. They initially plan on offering their payment service in collaboration with Rediff, Naukri, Cleartrip, Jeevansathi and 99Acres.

Online ticketing sites are now providing mobile ticketing via SMS as well as via special barcode on the mobile screen itself. A swipe of the mobile screen over a scanner is all that one needs to gain entry to the event. These type of services are powered by companies like Convergelabs and Moveo.

Let me know if you come across any interesting service being provided by Internet players for mobile users.

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Entry Filed under: mobile

21 Responses

  1. 1. IndianPad said on December 15th, 2006 at 2:59 am

    If mobile is the future of Internet, which companies are ready for it?…

    If mobile is the future of Internet, which companies are ready for it? posted at IndianPad.com…

  2. 2. newfan said on December 17th, 2006 at 12:02 pm

    Whats your email, or is there any other way to get in touch with you.

  3. 3. kunal said on December 20th, 2006 at 6:01 am

    Great find, but have you actually tried any of these services to see which one actually serves back relevant information? I have and most of them suck. Until someone gets it right, all this activity in the mobile content/commerce space is worthless.

  4. 4. Madhur said on December 20th, 2006 at 7:25 am

    Yes, its not very heartening to see that most providers have taken a rather half-hearted approach. However, this is some start and as I wrote, hopefully these will get better over time.

  5. 5. E O Fall (At;lanta, GA) said on December 20th, 2006 at 1:15 pm

    This is a good post. If 2006 was about user-generated content well late 2007-2008 will be about how the mobile phone will change interaction, networking and working for that matter. A safe bet in tis area would be in builiding platforms for the content and service providers rather than building a service or trying to distribute content. Mobile social networking is worth watching also.

  6. 6. Chandra said on December 20th, 2006 at 4:39 pm

    Good post! We have entered Web 2.0 game a bit late. Lets hope that we will be inline with Mobile 2.0 revolution from the start!

  7. 7. Vivek Garg said on December 21st, 2006 at 1:59 am

    mobile 2.0 is how India is going to play web 2.0. We are not late in the game, we are changing the game as per our turf. India is a unique market and has its challenges. No one really knows what will work here. Given the mobile penetration a startup would have to be insane not to choose it as outreach.

    These players are out there bulding the game. I believe these services will improve over time once they understand what works.

  8. 8. Indian Product Innovations on iface thoughts said on December 21st, 2006 at 3:20 pm

    […] It is imperative for the software industry in India to start focusing on products. India, as a market, is booming. This is a ripe opportunity for companies to tap into the potentials by creating products for Indian markets, which is what the nominated companies are working on. The unique combination of the population, budget, literacy and urbanisation across India requires indigenous products, they cannot be made elsewhere. Mobiles targetted this exact combination and have proved to be more successful than personal computers. Now, companies are trying to build on this market and provide products and services that are mobile based rather than just for computers. Madhur takes a look at some Indian companies which are active in the mobile domain. It will be really interesting to see how this space shapes up. […]

  9. 9. Ashim said on December 23rd, 2006 at 5:29 pm

    Has anyone tried Google Calendar ? They added this SMS reminder facility in which you’ll get a message with a task that you put on the Gcal. Works in Delhi, dunno about other cities..

    Have been using this feature and its quite effective. Am using it mostly to wish friends on their bdays and anniversaries, though.

  10. 10. Ajay Chitte said on December 27th, 2006 at 3:48 pm

    good work done. SMS is going to be future business and it is like gold mine. It need to be taken as business. there could be atleast 500 applications which can be anounced over web.It need tobe grabed and seriously / professionaly managed as a new oportunity in mobile business. i think the content provider should be very serious about it first, to get customer serious about it.
    and they all should form a common ethical platform so as not to spoil market.

  11. 11. the stars are mobile at said on December 30th, 2006 at 11:58 am

    […] Also found this talking about the already-existing mobile phone based services that work (or do not) in bridging mobile and net technologies. From iLeher: I was actually amazed to find out that you can do so much even without having data connectivity – just by using simple SMS. My sense is that still none of these have really gained a lot of traction among the masses, but they are taking a step in the right direction and hopefully someone will figure out the magic formula of making the users addicted to their service on mobile. […]

  12. 12. Sidhartha Bezbora said on January 2nd, 2007 at 7:40 am

    This is an interesting discussion. Mobile 2.0 is the future. With the kind of mobile growth in India, am sure its going to revolutionize the mobile space. SMS still rules and I have no doubt it is going to stay as people are comfortable sending an sms rather then browsing on a mobile phone and message on a social network or instant messenger.

    Social Networking which has been the talk of the town which is going to be next big thing in the Mobile space in India. With more and more people starting the use the mobile internet every organization will look at building a community to promote its products and services.

    To name a few ACL Wireless has launched its India specific mobile community http://www.frenzo.in .

    http://www.hovr.com has launched a Ad supported Mobile community for Mobile Games. This is an interesting concept and I will put my money on this.

    PVR Cinemas have launched Mobile ticketing .

    With more and more new innovative applications for the mobile internet, it is just a matter of time when all the present web services will be available on mobile.

  13. 13. Madhur said on January 3rd, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    Thanks Siddhartha for pointing out these additional players taking mobile seriously. It will be interesting to see how pure mobile based social networking takes off in India.

  14. 14. waqar azmi said on January 12th, 2007 at 5:32 am

    i dont know what will happen to these online dvd rental co’s when moserbaer will arrive with its dirt cheap vcds and dvds


  15. 15. waqar azmi said on January 12th, 2007 at 5:34 am

    i guess no one


  16. 16. iLeher » SMS backup and storage- All about Internet industry in India said on January 28th, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    […] We have discussed many times why mobile is an important channel and exploding.  This IAMAI report about mobile VAS estimates the mobile VAS industry at Rs 2850 crores at the end of 2006 and is estimated to grow at 60% to touch Rs. 4560 crores at the end of 2007. Here is the split: […]

  17. 17. Unique Identity said on March 15th, 2007 at 8:01 am

    Would like to add to this list:-
    Real estate: 99acres.com offers the same service as mentioned for Magicbricks, infact this service was launched before Magicbricks.

    In matrimony Shaadi uses alerts to inform users about activity over their profile.

    Monster recently launched SMS based recruitment service very similar to Naukri.

    Jobstreet and Times jobs also have job search kind of service on SMS.

    Another notable change you would notice is that more and more internet companies are experimenting with different formats SMS/WIB/STK/WAP for their services.
    My take on this is WAP-especially closed garden approach like Airtel Live would become bigger platforms for consumption of content as the onus of promotion is with telecom operators, unlike SMS where content providers need to take on the mantle of promoting and in case of alerts bear the cost of it.

  18. 18. amit said on March 28th, 2007 at 11:11 am

    Local search now also on WAP : http://onyomo.com/wap

  19. 19. Tapan Khandelwal said on May 2nd, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    yes , mobile phones are the future of the internet , since whenever we thought to catch a common man , we can do it by mobile , every body is having mobile now a days , uses of web and mobile are railway reservation,enquiry,chatting,air tickets,news,stock tickers,cinema tickets,e banking thru mobile , these are the features where all the above said service companies and be one step ahead by integrating web and mobile , 99acres,magic bricks are using the property info for the same , soon http://www.propertyindex.co.in shall also be starting a unique services for property integrating GPRS and WAP enabled property search across India.

  20. 20. mVies said on June 1st, 2007 at 12:31 pm


    The mobile website provides the most accurate information to movie goers in India. Users can browse the movie by name, cinema hall name and also text. A unique algorithm in the site makes the most demanded information creep up in the page.

    mvies.in can be browsed from any GPRS/EDGE/WAP enabled mobile phone and thus it provides the ultimate flexibility to movie goers. The site has been specially designed so that is it browsable on the lowest configuration mobile phones.

    Care has been taken to provide ease of use and information accessibility with least number of clicks. The movie details provide show timings, cinema address & telephone number that can be invoked from the phone with one click.


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