IAMAI Digital Summit 2008: Where is mobile commerce, mobile Internet headed?

By , agencyfaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | January 14, 2008
M-commerce could work for services such as movie ticketing, bill payments and money transfers. However, the mobile Internet still faces many challenges

The session & #BANNER1 & # on m-commerce on the second day of the India Digital Summit 2008, organised by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), focused on the challenges in the growth of mobile commerce in India. M-commerce includes transactions for the purchase of ringtones or pictures, news or stock alerts, or for availing of services such as m-coupons and wallets.

Sanjay Aggarwal, general manager, operations, IRCTC, talked about the challenges before m-commerce. "Users are concerned about the security of their bank accounts while transacting through mobile. The slow speed of GPRS and poor user interface are also concerns for m-commerce," he said.

Harish Gandhi

Akshay Sharma

Shig Sando
Harish Gandhi, executive director, Canaan Partners, began by defining m-commerce as purchase and sale of goods or services through mobile with the help of a financial institution. "The areas which can see traction in m-commerce are utility bill payments, movie ticketing, merchant or retail purchases and money transfers," he said.

Akshay Sharma, assistant vice-president, marketing and brand development, and business head, Paymate, pointed out that "convenience in transaction is one of the major advantages of m-commerce and products which do not need touch and feel will see traction". Sharma said m-commerce was becoming popular in smaller towns, as mobile subscriptions are available everywhere as compared to Internet enabled computers. He said Tier II and III towns contribute about 35-40 per cent of total m-commerce transactions on Paymate, his company's mobile payment gateway.

In the session titled I-Mode - Mobile Internet Realisation and Its Evolution, panellists interacted with Shig Sando, managing director, global business, i-Mode, DoCoMo (Japan), to evaluate the factors behind the success of i-Mode.

NTT DoCoMo is one of Japan's leading mobile phone operators. It started its mobile Internet service, i-Mode, in February 1999. I-Mode enables users to download games, videos or music files and access news or weather forecasts on mobile. Currently, 47 million subscribers are using i-Mode services.

Commenting on the success of i-Mode, Sando said, "Quality network, a good relationship with content providers and a variety of applications available on i-Mode are some of the factors."

Ajay Vaishnavi, director, telecom, Times Internet Ltd, asked Sando how NTT DoCoMo managed to share a big chunk of its revenue (91 per cent) with content providers. Sando replied, "We earn 100 per cent revenue from data traffic, which we don't share with content providers. Also, we maintain a good relationship with content providers as we discuss and share issues with them."

Jagdish Mitra, CEO, CanvasM Technologies, talked about challenges related to the mobile ecosystem and asked Sando about who maintained the ecosystem in Japan. In reply, Sando said, "A mobile operator should take initiatives to make all mobile related parties work together, and clear strategies or directions should be worked out by them."