"Increasing demand for local and local language services is a key trend we are seeing", Jonathan Bill, Vodafone
Jonathan Bill is SVP of Innovation and Business Development for Vodafone in India. Jonathan has been a key part in the Indian Internet Revolution space having driven data business for Vodafone. Prior to joining Vodafone India in 2011, Jonathan was Head of Emerging Markets for Vodafone Group running data and internet operations for emerging markets. Now, Jonathan leads on Vodafone India’s new product and revenue development. Here we get in a conversation with Jonathan to talk about mobile trends, Vodafone and the Indian Market.
YS: How does Vodafone see the smartphone ecosystem evolve in India? How fast is the transition from feature phones to smartphones?
Jonathan: We see a rapid increase in uptake of Smartphones in the coming years. Indeed, a recent report suggests Indian consumers place more importance on having a smartphone than a TV. And we also believe this to be true.
YS: With 4G and mobile data becoming more and more pervasive, how do you see the app downloads coming along?
Jonathan: We are already a substantial market for mobile apps especially on feature phones – the largest in the world for feature phone apps. Millions of downloads per day. We see that market developing fast.
YS: What is India downloading and surfing on mobile? Any specific trends you are noticing?
Jonathan: Increasing demand for local and local language services is a key trend we’re seeing. This is obviously alongside the usual likes of social media, etc but regional languages play a huge role in India.
YS: Is there any specific strategy for emerging market apps? Is the market for apps in rural substantially different?
Jonathan: Pricing and value proposition are keys. Relevance is also very important. Understanding customers is sounds clichéd but it’ll always be there (most people don’t get it – developers in Bangalore and other metros are not the same as people living in Rural India)
YS: How many users are data consumers (vs. only voice)? How is this mix going to change in the future?
Jonathan: Depending on circle ranges from less than 10% to over 40% we fully expect a substantial number of our customers to be regular mobile data users in the near term
YS: What are the big opportunity areas for developers and startups to leverage on mobile?
Jonathan: Focus on building a relationship with customers using feature phones today so that when they upgrade to smartphones they seek out your service. Otherwise, waiting till they are smartphone users means you are competing with millions of other apps
YS: How does Vodafone plan to support the developer and startup ecosystem?
Jonathan: An easy to integrate into platform and a new revenue share. Since we led the market on changing our revenue shares in favour of developers, we have seen this part of our business grow to exceed our own promoted data services / apps in a few short months.
Jonathan from Vodafone will join us for MobiSparks. Will you?