Lots is happening in India, most interesting stuff in Telecoms and IT related sectors. As of September TRAI (Telephone Regulatory Authority of India) slashed the rate of broadband connection to more 50- 60 % and there is talk convergence (which means single company can offer both telecoms and data services). Not surprisingly there has been 60 to 70 % growth in broadband subscribers base in India. The government has also legalized Internet telephony (Voice over Internet Protocol or VOIP for short) April 1, 2002. You must be thinking now what this got to do with Skype or VOIP, well almost everything.
One to two years back an Internet connection was too expensive or slow to be used in domestic sectors. It was also a government service, so the favorite place to access Internet were cyber cafes /office /school or college lab, so voip was used for quick short calls (due crappy voip software like Yahoo, MSN and low bandwidth) but most people preferred chatting to voice chat as matter of convenience . Now the provisioning of Internet services is privatized and large ISPs are slashing of rates This has led most people in urban areas to owing or planning to own an Internet connection especially when it costs as little as $5 to $10. (Editors note. For the average Indian this amount of money takes five to eight hours to earn.
Most Internet users adept with use IM like yahoo or msn but Skype is penetration is still low but gaining steadily. Most people at work or friends / family still haven't heard much about Skype or used and those who use them it simply love it. Skype is mainly used by power Internet users like college students or working professionals or by the families of Non Resident Indians, geeks /enthusiasts & many businessmen who do business in Europe (their European-based customers usually recommend Skype to them). Why do we not find Skype on Indian desktops as often as Yahoo or MSN? Especially since Skype offers better service /value. The later products are IM centric, while Skype is Voice centric.
Reasons can be following
As broadband is new to relatively new to India it might take time for Skype to get a good market penetration.
Majority of people extensively portals like Yahoo, MSN or rediff for checking emails/search/IM and if 9 out 10 of friends are part of one network switching to Skype wont make sense .
But I think main reason is relatively low visibility of Skype among Internet users in India most of us just heard about Skype from cousin/friend who lives abroad or by Skype chance stumbled upon it.
I think following can be done to increase Skype market penetration in India
Skype can tie up with leading Indian ISP (like Airtel, Satyam etc) or portals (like rediff , indya.com etc) and bundle free downloads (same strategy followed by Skype in China , Japan)
Aggressively Advertise Skype out charges in Indian Media or on line (India has large no citizen working abroad not forget large no of customers who outsource to India)
IM integration (generic idea not India specific) wont it be great it Skype IM can talk with other major IM like yahoo, msn , AOL , i bet we will see mass migration if and when this happens
outsource marketing & development to some firm in India ....Just kidding ;-)
As you can plunging broadband rates , large no of citizens, customer base living/working abroad ,booming economy and sheer numbers makes India and also China very good markets and worth fighting for in future . Stage is set for VOIP for one the biggest markets in world