Vinod Pandit

Vinod Pandit, Business Head, India Lephone Technology Pvt Ltd. – truly an inspiration for those looking to be trailblazers! Mr. Pandit Born in 1968 in Kashmir has a humble beginning in Kashmir, where he was born to working class parents who instilled in him humility, good work ethics and a love of life. Pursued his schooling there and began his career after graduating from college in 1993. He enrolled for Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Mumbai University. Today he counts over more than two decades of experience in channel sales, dealership expertise and distribution management.

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How India is Shaping the Global Smartphone Market

With newer smartphone makers entering the Indian region and spreading their wings, India has become the second largest smartphone market in the world.

With every passing generation, the telecommunications market leaps to a new regime. While the Technology experts and R&D are heavily invested in developing tools to reshape the world of high tech devices used in daily life. This new age change is set to redefine the smartphone market for the millennial of today. The advent of technology and the aggressive entry of multiple applications in the market has witnessed an era of digitization which has shrunk the globe and opened many doors to the ease of doing business on a global scale.

But how can we not mention smartphones when taking technology to the spotlight? Today, smartphones have emerged as one of the essential tools for humans. Rather, it has become an essential part of our lives and an extension of our bodies, which we find it hard to detach from ourselves. Now imagine, in a country of 1.3 billion people, how many of them would be active smartphone users? Of course, this is a growing number and there are million new users joining this enormous network on monthly basis.

With newer smartphone makers entering the Indian region and spreading their wings, India has become the second largest smartphone market in the world. The rising smartphone penetration into the urban areas is an old concept now. Players are now picking pace in Tier II and III markets as well. The new smartphone concepts have taken a new shift and contributed to the nation’s GDP through deploying employment opportunities and fostering innovation.

Rising disposable incomes, seamless and secure payment gateways, and internet facilities are some of the various factors behind this stupendous growth. With such tremendous growth, today any individual can book a cab and travel to any destination of choice and pay the driver without wrangling over the small change through apps. Similarly, when ordering food from any restaurant of choice, the transaction is seamless through digital apps. Most of your conversations take place on WhatsApp; you don’t need to call everyone to complete a communication. All this has become possible due to the increasing smartphone penetration.

We have come a long way from the time when telecommunication companies in India were offering 2/3G data connectivity. With the advent of 4G LTE, the next upgrade in data connectivity, which is taking India by storm; the country is quickly understanding the benefits of adapting to a faster internet speed, and hence introducing smart initiatives for their subscriber base, and enhancing communication platforms. Not only this, India has already started realizing the value of 5G, and thus bringing all the stakeholders together and taking regulatory actions to make it a success. All such initiatives are giving the domestic and international telecom brands bigger opportunities to cater to this rising smartphone penetration. The efforts by the government and TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India which is an independent regulatory body established by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act 1997), and its incredible initiatives like Digital India and Make in India have changed the landscape of businesses of the future. These have turned out to be strong facilitators of homegrown smartphones at reasonable prices.

This clearly shows that we are rapidly heading towards making India a digital economy very soon. The country, however, needs to go through a rough path before it goes fully digital. Firstly, there is a large rural population still using feature phones; who are yet to understand the dynamics of the usage of the smartphone. They also need to be skilled in learning to use these modern devices. Feature phones are user-friendly and it is easy to understand their functionality, regardless of the price band. Today, 55 percent of the total handset shipments comprises of the feature phones. Out of which, 75 percent users belong to the middle-class section, which puts an end to the popular belief that feature phones are used only by the rural populace of India.

The Government of India along with the private players direly need to understand this situation and take steps further to introduce smartphones which are handy and user-friendly. To help people switch from feature phones to smartphones is surely going to be an uphill task. Fuelling them with frequent training schedules would be of paramount importance.

Hitherto, the market penetration of data packages and more importantly cell-tower connectivity being installed across the country by service providers. It is also important to make them aware of what the government is doing and how is it going to benefit them. Aadhar card, Digital India, Make in India, Smart city concepts etc., all such initiatives should be explained to them and they must be cognizant of them. Another urgent prerequisite is to provide access to the internet across all regions. Research says that 28 percent of the Indian population still fail to come under the internet connectivity; telecom providers are investing in massive installation project to meet the digital goals of the nation.

Thus, leading to low subscription rates. While the urban populace has 61.9 internet subscriptions per 100 people, the hinterlands have just 13.7 internet subscriptions. Also, among those who access internet on their phones, nearly 50 percent of them still use 2G. But again, it is more like a benefit to the smartphone makers. This situation creates an opportunity for these players to sell devices at both the low and high ends, hence more innovation is envisioned in the years to come.

So, what’s the way forward? For India to go digital, it is important for the government to join hands with the private players and focus on providing consumers with lucrative Wifi connectivity at affordable rates. To address this, the government has launched it's ambitious Bharatnet project with an aim to connect 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats for better digital communication. With such strong support from the Indian government and their harmony with other big industry stalwarts; India is on the right path to pave its way towards building a smarter and a better ecosystem where smartphones will play a key role in both domestic and international markets of the future. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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