An old telecom industry joke goes like this: A Japanese VAS company goes to an Indian telecom carrier for a content deal. They're thrilled when the carrier suggests an 80:20 revenue share deal, and then they realize that the carrier will keep the 80%. The crux of the joke is that in Japan, which is a data heavy market, the leading carrier NTT Docomo keeps 20% of revenue share. The catch: Docomo keeps the money it makes from data. But Japan is a market with evolved payment mechanisms, comfortable with online and mobile payments. In India, the propensity to purchase content online and mobile is rather limited: when a customer sees a price tag before her, the chances that she will not buy the content. Apart from that, the cost of content on operator decks has been prohibitively high, though it has come down significantly in the recent past: whether a Rs. 99-150 game, Rs. 10 wallpaper, Rs. 15 animation or a Rs. 15 ringtone. On the other hand, data costs, though disclosed, are not as explicit. When a consumer get the opportunity to view a video or just download the same content for free on the mobile, there is only a charge for downloading that content. Data consumption, except in case of unlimited plans like the Rs. 95 one from Aircel, offer the opportunity of monetizing heavy data consumption, particularly from providing data-heavy content free for viewing on the mobile, whether it is YouTube video, videos via VuClip, or…
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