“As you move from 2G to 3G, there’s a vast difference in what the customer expects,” Kunal Bajaj, Partner, Director (India) at Analysys Mason said at the VAS India summit last week, “In many ways, the onus is on the operator. What we’ve seen is that when EVDO services were launched in India, there was a sudden surge in data card usage, because of a better customer experience – the number of data cards went up from less than 1.5 million total data cards, to 2.2 million at the end of 2009.” Bajaj said that telecom operators can be expected to extensively bundle voice and data services to increase VAS usage among existing data users, as well as launch new services. “There is no single killer app, but by and large, video has been the major emphasis area, apart from social networking, user generated content, comics or mobisodes.”

Bajaj put forth the following estimates for 3G usage India:

– 3G Dongles: 17 million by 2014
– Mobile Data: 77 million  by 2014
– Mobile Apps and services: contributing 20% to revenue by 2014

While India is currently a telecom operator app store market, Bajaj expects the handset OEM push, especially for Android based phones, to drive application and services usage. On the entertainment front, he expects a change from CRBT and information alerts dominated market to become a market dominated by live streaming and full track downloads.

Download his presentation here.

3G Data Pricing

Commenting on tariff structure for 3G adopted by Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices, Bajaj said that the companies have agressively priced services, by mapping tariffs to customer usage patters and spending capacity, by charging Rs. 800 for what users would otherwise be willing to pay Rs. 900 for. “Tata and Reliance are really going to go after the high end subscribers of Airtel and Vodafone, with bundling in order to incentivise customers to try data services,” he said. Telecom networks, though, will have to be optimized to deal with increasing data demand, given that operators have only 5MHz of spectrum.