Ten years ago now seems a long time in the past. The iPhone had just arrived in India then. Airtel was the dominant market leader among a host of mobile service providers. Jio had not even been conceived. And the most desirable and smartest smartphone was the Blackberry, a slab of black plastic that hardly fit into your palm but offered a world of possibilities with its Qwerty keyboard and the quirky scroll ball. It was the time India’s business capital, Mumbai, was yet to recover from the 2008 terror attack and the corporate sector was still in the grip of a fear psychosis. Companies were investing hugely on ensuring security. The bull on Dalal Street was not exactly fuming from its nostrils. To make matters worse, the year 2009 dawned with the Rs 7,000-crore Satyam scam that shook the country’s corporate sector and necessitated the introduction of fresh checks and balances.
Ten years ago, India was a different place altogether. The telecom sector was discovering new prices and was shifting gear to get into a radical per second billing, though rates were still high. It was also the year India was discovering touch screen phones. Data was expensive and speeds were pathetic. Few used it on the phone as India was slowly starting to move from dial-up internet to fiber broadband. The internet revolution was waiting to happen. The download culture had not set in yet. Also, there was no Amazon Prime or Netflix to download or stream movies or television content from. Nokia was slowly moving out of favour and Samsung was carving its place in the Indian market.