Now, you can download Mobile Recharge API from the API tab above.
There are two documents : API.doc which gives details of the the http based API and mapping.xls which maps the operators and circles to specific ID’s.
This is the first time in India that mobile recharge API is available for free. And openly.
The API can be used to develop applications for social networks like facebook and twitter or to create your own mobile recharge site or contests where you can sponsor free talk time.
Banks have come a long way from the days of smiling staff to ATM’s to internet and now on to the mobile. The furious mobile subscriber growth in last few years in India has meant that finally an electronic device other than television remote has found its way into the hands of Indians. I mean hundreds of millions of Indians.
India also has one of the lowest penetration of bank accounts. I would guess less than 100 million individuals in India have bank accounts. Access to credit can be a big enabler for getting out of poverty as the experience of micro-finance has shown in Bangladesh ( Mohammad Yunus and Grameen bank) and now in India. However, banking is not only about credit. It can dramatically increase the efficiency of government projects in rural areas . For example, NREGA can be much more successful if the workers have bank accounts. The government can transfer the money directly to their account with no middlemen keeping their cut.
So, marrying the two should mean that hundreds of millions of people can get access to banks, right? Wrong!
1) Most of the phones where mobile banking can really be useful are owned by people who already have alternative channels to access banking like internet/ATM/bank branch. By all means , these alternative channels score much higher on user experience today.
2) Most of the people who *really* need mobile banking do not have phones which are capable enough. Also, we are talking about people who can barely read English. And can barely learn to open and read an SMS. And they want to change their mobile phone and prepaid SIM every time there’s a new deal in the market. ( India may soon have the biggest mobile resale market).
*Result* : All mobile payment solutions ( paymate/mchek/banks) in India are only serving folks who already have bank accounts. There are only 25 million mobiles registered for any form of mobile banking. And only 7% ( about 1.5 million) are active users. No wonder, I have not heard anyone in my circle ever hear checking their bank statements on the mobile.
Rajesh Jain is a proven entreprenuer who is bullish today on the idea of operator independent mobile application/services store in India. He is one of the very few mobile/telecom guys who thinks that an operator independent mobile services ecosystem is actually possible. Almost every VC/investor we have met gives us the usual rants about ” only operators can help you achieve volumes” and so on.
We at mobikwik are pursuing exactly this kind of vision and it is heartening to get validated by someone who has experienced success in Indian telecom.
I quote from his interview :
“Apple has shown what’s possible in the U.S. with a model which is basically independent – the App Store model – which is independent of the mobile operator. That is the opportunity which exists today to create what I call a digital-services operator, where there are four elements one needs to put together in the mobile space: alternate payments of collecting money independent of the operator, which Apple is doing in the U.S. through credit cards built up largely first through the iTunes music they sell. The second is having a large reach, so you can reach tens of millions of people cost-effectively so you can make them aware of the services. The third is an open publishing platform and marketplace, so third-party providers, content providers, service providers can comment. And finally, an initial set of compelling services, which get people to want to go create the account.
If these four elements can be put together there is a great opportunity to transform the mobile space and break the stranglehold that mobile operators have. What’s happening today is that, because of their focus primarily on voice and in India mainly launches in rural areas, the top of the pyramid – which is about 100 million people, 25% of the base – want new services but are not able to get to the operators.”
Read more from an interview he gave to Wharton recently about Indian mobile market.
If you have used mobikwik you would have noticed that we are already covering point 1 ( alternate payment through mobikwik balance) and point 4 ( prepaid mobile services). We are on our way to create an open publishing platform and also the big daddy of all : LARGE REACH
Also, his Interop presentation talks about the exact same thing in numbers.