India has always been a big voice market with low-tariff rates. SMS use is limited, and data is not that big anyway. But with many other markets abroad, this is not the case.
Take the example of Philippines. There is an operator 50 per cent of whose revenues come from SMSs. For a Telco CEO, the first option would be to curb messaging. Most telcos are beyond that hump now. Now, they are asking questions as to how they can take this into stride and work out new business models? There are options: one is leveraging the airtime, and the retail reach.
Now, Indian telcos are realising that the demise of SMS is probably a good thing. SMSs can't be extended beyond SMS functionality. Messengers are far richer.
Messaging communications apps are the new gateways, and with a much bigger disruptive potential than the last few gateways.
This is for the simple reason that it is sitting at the concurrence of three big industries: handsets, telecom manufacturers and the Internet. So, it's like three industries coming together to form this gateway. Whoever is able to capture this gateway will be able to capture the lion's share of value getting generated.
Telcos also want to be part of this space. So, it's better to partner with high-scale technology companies.
Take the case of advertising. What's happening in the emerging and mature markets? For the first time, brand dollars are coming directly to mobile bypassing personal computers. Chief marketing officers of big FMCG companies and brands have never splurged so much on personal computers before.
That's happening now on mobile because it gives this intimacy, and interactivity, and more importantly, reach. This dollar shift is happening. A third of Facebook revenues come from mobile.