The promise of 3G is live again, and as consumers, I am sure most of us are looking forward to it. It would be great to get people’s views on what it might mean for startup opportunities. Some of my thoughts:

  • 3G in India is fundamentally about cheaper scalable voice capacity. At a basic level, 3G doesn’t change much for consumers – operators should be able to continue their drive for user growth, hopefully at better service levels.
  • Data becomes faster – the big bet on this seems to be music. Mobile can become the de-facto music delivery device with advent of 3G. Big question/opportunity – to own the music experience on the device – hard place for startups to play, but promising if one can find the right channels (including operators, handset vendors, and so on). A sound business model, and ability to rally the industry around it is the key. I have heard people mention gaming as the other killer app – I think monetization is an issue here, unless its ad supported.
  • Open gardens – IMHO, this will remain a dream. The fundamental piece here is the charging capability. So while free content browsing should expand (see next point), any kind of paid content/services will continue to go through operators. Watch out for takeoff in any mobile micro-payment mechanism. The second important piece remains low cost marketing, which is available through operators.
  • Mobile advertising should grow with increased data usage on the handset. Ability to target well on the phone is a key capability. Equally important might be to target across media types (voice, sms, data).
  • User experience and control thereof on the mobile phone will become more and more important. With operators in India not having control on the handset configuration, this space is vacant. One key set of players will be device folks. Startups can play an important role if they can figure out dissemination mechanism (a la mobile viral apps). Also, the fundamental unit of user experience needn’t be a web page… and that opens up a few innovation opportunities.

Any thoughts, comments, rebuttals?

PS: Just saws this – why is this all percentages, no one seems to know/report how many users are actually using this stuff!