India a better place than China for phone firms
Phone companies hoping to boost profits by seeking growth in China's market for mobile data and other services take note. The world's largest telecoms market may be growing quickly but India is a better bet.
As the market for voice calls matures, telecoms operators from around the world, from Vodafone to Telefonica, are offering more lucrative services that let users download songs and TV programmes, for example.
These value-added services have taken off in Japan and South Korea, and the mobile phone operators and companies that provide the songs, ringtones and television are looking to muscle in on China and India, the world's biggest and fastest-growing markets.
But although both countries present obstacles to foreign investment, India is the faster growing market with an easier business climate for telecoms companies.
"For telecom operators, you should go to India because its vibrant Bollywood film scene and demand for music is a big plus in its favour," said Neeraj Roy, CEO of Hungama Mobile.
"It's a media-friendly market and so is the consumer. Music is the major driver and it's principally driven by Bollywood."
The Indian market is also crowded with more carriers and content providers, offering greater tie-up opportunities.
Data services are expected to account for 12 percent of total revenue for Indian mobile operators in 2007, rising to 22 per cent by 2011, research firm Gartner says. ( Gulf )