India's Department of Telecom has recently issued new telecom licenses, and under these new agreements, telecom operators (including Internet service providers), are required to pay 8 percent annually on their adjusted gross revenue (AGR).
As a result, companies are now saying this could result in hikes up to 30 percent for Indian consumers. Furthermore, this could potentially have a cascading effect on rolling out broadband services in rural India, reports TechGig.com.
If you ask me, now is probably the best time for those who don't have broadband services in either urban and especially rural settings in India, to purchase a smartphone and tablet, and sign up to a decent data package plan from anyone of the Indian mobile operators. Sure, both Airtel and Tata have a slight advantage over others as they offer both mobile and broadband services, and if you bundle your package, you can save money.
The only question is do Indian consumers really need both mobile Internet and a broadband connection?
I honestly feel that eventually Indian consumers will choose one or over the other, not both, and will favor mobile internet instead. For example, it's not uncommon for commuters in metros such as Delhi and Mumbai to spend up to two or three hours commuting each day. The time commuting can be used online instead, thus leading to a more productive workday in the office and a more balanced family life after work hours too.
Furthermore, considering the increase in sales of phablets and tablets across India, along with the decline of traditional PC sales, again, the shift is going towards mobile internet. I personally feel that traditional ISPs will soon face a challenge retaining customer in urban settings, and in rural areas, since rolling out and introducing broadband connections will be too expensive, the emphasis should be towards mobile internet and services instead.
What makes this situation unique for Indian consumers right now is that you can get a basic tablet starting at around US$100, and price increases based on features, specifications, and obviously brand. It's still more affordable to start off with tablet and have a mobile data plan, either prepaid or postpaid.
Furthermore, those who are mobile customers with Airtel also have the availability of 4G services, in select regions across India. Once other carriers in India begin to rollout 4G services, Indian consumers will have yet another option for mobile internet solutions at more affordable prices, compared to signing up for a broadband service. That's not to say broadband internet will completely fade away; it simply won’t be as appealing as mobile Internet for the majority of phablet and tablet users.