India SMBs to spend $173M on smartphones

Introduction of 3G mobile broadband and varied data subscription plans are reasons why SMBs in India will invest heavily on smartphones in 2011, new study reveals.
Written by Jason Ng, Contributor on

India's small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are expected to spend US$173 million on smartphones this year, driven by better network coverage and varied data subscription plans, a new study showed.

According to AMI-Partners, 54 percent of India's midsize businesses--defined as those with 100 to 999 employees--are on smartphones today. The SMB market, as a whole, has an installed base of less than a million users, with the majority of these users in the professional services vertical, it added.

However, this figure is expected to increase with the introduction of 3G spectrum identified as one of the factors that will drive companies to spend on smartphones, AMI-Partners said.

At present, many smartphone users in India do not use the data services that smartphones offer, said AMI-Partners' research analyst Priti Verma. She put this lack of usage down to insufficient data bandwidth, but stated that this is about to change.

"With the advent of 3G spectrum, we are observing an increase in the coverage that phone companies are able to offer and, in turn, smartphone penetration levels and data plan usage are on the rise," she said.

Additionally, smartphone vendors can boost smartphone uptake by offering more and varied data plan options, Verma suggested. These are in line with changing customer preferences, such as using only one device for presentations, e-mail or downloading information, she added.

Ultimately, as India continues to move towards a mobile workforce and as smartphone technology improves, it will not be long before smartphone plays a pivotal role among SMBs, predicted the research firm.

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