India’s ‘Missed Call’ EconomyJanuary 9, 2013 5:14 am
It is a common practice in India, to give a ‘missed call’ to someone to let him or her know that you have arrived at someplace or that you have done something or basically anything that has been previously agreed upon. So for example, people say, “give me a missed call when your train reaches the platform” or “as soon as you get down at the bus stop, give me a missed call”.
Obviously, the reasons are economic – this is an activity that is prevalent among folks who want to cut down on their mobile bills, the already low charges notwithstanding. We are talking about students, youth looking for employment, rural folks trying to communicate with each other for free – basically a crowd that is very conscious about their spending.
How big is this economy? And why should it matter?
We will answer the second question first. Why should it matter? Let us take an example. Anna Hazare led a campaign called India Against Corruption, in India’s capital, New Delhi. The team came up with a very innovative mechanism for the public throughout India to express support for the campaign – just give a missed call to a specific number in Delhi. Look at this:
““On April 5, when Hazare started his fast-unto-death at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, organisers requested the public to give a missed call on 022-61550789 to register their support. “By June 28, we got over one crore missed calls of which 76.83 lakh were unique missed calls, all different numbers and no repetition,” said Kunal Dixit of Netcore Solutions Private Limited, who is handling this scheme for the IAC.
“This data clearly proves that Lokpal movement is not limited to just a few thousand people. The whole country is behind us,” said Arvind Kejriwal, RTI activist, IAC member and one of the civil society representatives in the Lokpal bill’s joint drafting committee.” ”
Statistics Source: DNA
So the economy matters – there are ways to interpret missed calls. But how big is this economy? Well that one is a little tough to measure. But it is guaranteed to be huge, given India’s mobile subscriber numbers
GigaOm had covered this earlier as well, calling it ‘India’s Missed Call Mobile Ecosystem‘.
At this point, this sounds like a very short term opportunity – but in an extremely price sensitive market like rural India, it is as long term as it can get. And purely based on volume, this is a goldmine, mostly untapped at this point. And combine this with Aadhar, the high-impact project in India that nobody is talking about – you have an explosion in the making.