“Mobile is going to be the integral platform of digital content and citizen service delivery,” says R. Chandrashekhar, Secretary, Department of Information Technology and also better known as father of e-governance in India. Endorsed by Chandrashekhar, DIT and Digital Empowerment Foundation have come together to create a regional platform to bring together the best of mobile content and application innovations – it is called mBillionth Award South Asia.
“If the Mobility platform is expected to be the next disruption to handover the power to masses, literally, in their hands, then the day of reckoning has come – The mBillionth Award Congress, Expo & Gala on 23rd July 2010 - where some of best minds in South Asia will show case their most innovative applications, projects and initiatives that use mobile devices to deliver high impact beneficial services to masses,” explains Osama Manzar, Curator of mBillionth Award and founder director of Digital Empowerment Foundation.
Vishwanath Alluri, Chairman and CEO, IMI Mobile, said “all the companies in the VAS (Value Added Services) ecosystem clearly know that their future is here in the heart of India. 70 percent of India’s population lives in the rural areas and importantly, 64 percent of the nation’s expenditure and 56 percent of its income comes from the villages. Mobile Services next growth frontier is definitely rural India, which is triple the size of Urban Market.”
mBillionth Award is like a mobile movement, with partners like mint newspaper, and VAS companies like IMImobile, OnMobile, One97 and the umbrella organisation such as IAMAI (Internet & Mobile Association of India). “We are in the midst of a mobile revolution that is exploding in terms of grassroots reach, mass impact and market size,” adds Subho Ray, President of IAMAI.
In almost all of South Asia, the population percentage coverage of mobiles in the region has reached 'critical mass' levels – Sri Lanka leads the region with 16.27 million mobiles reaching 81.35% of its population; Pakistan follows with 97.58 million mobiles covering 59.6% of the country’s population; India is almost halfway through with 584.32 million mobiles; Bhutan—47.8% (327,000 mobiles), Maldives—46% (0.14 million mobiles); Afghanistan and Bangladesh are almost there with 35% (12.9 million mobiles) and 52.43 million (34%). The laggard is Nepal, which has covered just 23.22%, making it to only 5.77 million people.