One of the biggest beneficiaries of this exponential increase in mobile connectivity could be banking, which has seen spurts of technology revolutions in the past. Mobile money can leverage the near universal reach created by the telecommunications infrastructure and complement it by adding existing and new financial services.
It was August 2002. The Indian mobile market was yet to show its true potential despite the early promise. We were miles away from the revolution we are experiencing today.
Though everyone was more or less convinced about the impending communications revolution, the debate over the relative growth potential of ‘fixed line’ and ‘mobile’ still raged. During one such informal debate, I got into a $50 bet with then Intel chief Craig Barrett, who happened to be in Delhi during one of his visits to India. The issue at hand was ‘when would mobile connections in India overtake fixed lines’. I was a little conservative, maintaining that 2008 could be the all-important year. Craig had a different take on it. He expected 2007 to be the ‘dividing line’. I fancied my chances given the fact that fixed lines outnumbered mobiles 4:1 in the country in 2002.