Google Mobile Ads Launched In India; Google To Power Search On Airtel Live

Bharti Airtel and Google have joined forces to offer mobile search and ads in India: Airtel will be incorporating Google Search on its Airtel Live mobile WAP portal. Attached to the search will be Google’s mobile ads. According to the release, “Google will provide search for Airtel Live in two areas – on net (rich content on Airtel Live) and off net (Internet on Mobile).”
The mobile ads will be on a cost-per-click basis. I just tried Airtel Live, and couldn’t find either Google Search or textual mobile ads on it – only links to Airtel content. It will be launched in due course of time, I suppose. I’m not sure of how many people access Airtel Live, but going beyond Airtel Live is still an issue since that entails charges for GPRS. It’s estimated that there are around 5mn GPRS users in India, taking into account all the telcos. What’s also not clear in the release is whether this is an exclusive contract, or is Google open to dealing with other telcos as well.
Update: Airtel plans to launch one new VAS application every month for the next two years, reports the Economic Times. Currently, data services contribute around 10.6% to total revenue, and Airtel thinks this is one way of increasing the contribution of VAS.
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