New Delhi, June 26: Indians are willing to shell out only Rs 100-150 per month for mobile data services, and the current price points along with spectrum availability issues are hampering the success of mobile Internet, according to Google.
The US Internet giant, which derives more than 95 per cent of its revenues from online advertising, is in talks with 3G service providers on pricing. At present, the operators charge between Rs 250 and Rs 450 for up to 2GB of 3G data download per month.
"Globally, we are partnering carriers to reduce (prices of) 3G data plans. In India, we will announce some plans on this front soon," Lalitesh Katragadda, country head (India product), Google, told The Telegraph.
The company is targeting 300 million Internet users from India by 2015 and working with equipment makers to lower smartphone costs. Google India had 120 million users at the end of 2011.
"By next year, more users will access the Net from mobiles rather than desktops. At present, 40-50 per cent connection to the Net is through hand-held devices and this is expected to grow, the challenge is to increase the number of smartphones in the market," Katragadda said.
Google is also working with telecom carriers to distribute online content to take advantage of the increasing viewership of online video. Analysts said six million Indians access online video daily through hand-held devices.
According to industry estimates, the total number of 3G consumers in the country is 20 million, just 2 per cent of the GSM subscriber base of more than 900 million.
"There is a specific price point between Rs 100 and Rs 150 per month that customers in India want to pay for data services. The current 3G price points do not support the demand ecosystem. Moreover, bandwidth availability issues are also hampering mobile Internet growth in India," Katragadda said.
Over the last six months, service providers have slashed 3G data tariffs by over 80 per cent to boost demand. However, network issues and high price of devices, which support 3G, have continued to bog growth.