Saturday, April 15, 2006

3G Mobile Services to Bridge Rural-Urban Digital Divide

3G ( Third Generation ) mobile service is expected to enter the Indian market in a big way by the end of 2006, according to the 'Enabling India's Broadband Economy - The 3G Way' report published by CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) and the US-based Yankee Group. What this means is that the Indian mobile user will be able to relish high speed data transfer via his mobile phones. Transferring digital photos, MP3 music, and even files across to another user with a mobile phone will become a cake-walk. Internet surfing on mobiles will turn common-place. Voice quality of 3G services is several notches better than that offered by current 2G services.

Four other key facts that I noticed in the news complemented this report.

  1. Handset costs to fall to $150-200 range, with low-end sub-$100 3G handsets available within a couple of years
  2. India to have 21.3 m 3G users by 2010 as stated in the above report.
  3. Special 3G content to be available. Doordarshan will be one of the first to offer three of its channels on all 3G mobile phones globally from April-end. namely DD National, DD Bharati and DD News. More multimedia companies to follow suit.
  4. South Korea, Japan, the leading players in 3G, ready to help plug India into 3G mobile tech
These 4 factors will ensure a spurt in the 3G services sector in India. The most heartening benefit would be the bridging of the digital divide between urban and rural India. Rural India is yet to see a spurt in computers and Internet access is still a dream, However with mobile penetration fairly high even in rural India, I feel that 3G services on mobiles will bring the much needed Internet access to rural India, thus paving the way for bridging the digital divide.

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