Ronnie05's Blog

India’s edging on the cusp of data revolution

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on February 1, 2013

44 million smartphone users
39 million 3G subscribers

These numbers appear miniscule against a 975 million sub base in Indian Telephony. But these small numbers signify more than just numbers – these stats indicate usage and habit of data consumption which is on a up-swing in Indian data context.


Sample Bharti Airtel’s quarterly results – which saw it posting slow down in profits for 12th successive quarter- big jumps in customers’ data usage are remarkable to note. The following extract from the result statement show – data use per customer rose 21% and the number of customers using fast 3G wireless data networks rose 29%.

This is not the single point of data as last year’s Nokia Siemens Networks reported 78% increase in 3G data traffic. In its report, based on data from 290 million Indian mobile data users, Nokia Siemens pointed out that mobile phones were the preferred medium for internet access in India, with 81% of data users saying they used their phones primarily for web browsing. Another 17% used their phones mainly for watching videos or listening to music.

Thus India and its mobile savvy 925 million subscribers is gobbling up data and is on the verge of a data revolution on small screens.

The India Internet scene thus is delivering as was expected with Internet and Entertainment consumption spiking on mobile screens. With erratic power supply it is a natural tendency to fall back on phones to deliver information and entertainment on the small screen. What complements the cause is the fact that the mobile phone screen is the single most viewed screen on a daily basis.

Howwever the best part is the significant upside that is awaiting – Internet penetration in India is lower at 11-12 per cent compared to other Asian countries (South Korea and japan have 50% data usage penetration levels). Even the densest penetration urban zones in India are only 39% penetrated. While a lot of it is to do with the infrastructure in India Compared to US, which has six carriers of 3G with 30 Mhz of 2G and 60 Mhz of 4G whereas India has an average bandwidth of of 8 Mhz of 2G.

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