3G Drives Internet Growth in India
Mobile data traffic is growing in India and that too fast. Between Dec-2011 to Dec-2012, the mobile data traffic increased by 92% that is almost a double.
This mobile data includes both the 3G data and of course, the traditional 2G data in it. While 2G has been here for a long time now. I can remember the slow and painful waiting for the cricinfo site to open and tell me the score on my old feature phones, while a friend of mine might do the same with a message. 3G has been a relatively new entrant. It has been in the block for a few years only and still its impact has been quite substantial in the growth.
Data from Nokia Siemens illustrate that the data traffic generated by 3G has increased by almost 196% compared to previous year, where as for 2G this figure is a measly 66%. Of course, these figures are a bit convoluted in the fact that 2G data users are more in the country than the 3G users.
3G is still prominent in the big cities and among the earning class. 2G on the other hand is prevalent among the youth (school and college going people) and the small town people.
The figure that is more interesting is the amount of data used by 3G and 2G users. 3G users on an average are using 434 MB data while 2G users are using only 115 MB. This is more that 300% and shows that with better speed data usages have surged as well.
People are obviously putting the good internet speeds to use and I believe that Youtube and to a certain other video sites might be a big culprit in the whole equation. Also of note is that this surge has begun after the slashing of 3G rates last year. Apart from video streaming, Facebook is also the reason why 3G has been growing so fiercely in India.
When the 3G was launched it was crazily high with no chance of being adopted by anyone. India is a country of middle class people and these people weren’t going to be splurging the money like idiots for internet on phones.
The other factor that helped the adoption of 3G is obviously the advent of smartphones, specifically Android. Suddenly everyone has a phone with a large touch-friendly screen that is capable of three internet intensive tasks-
- Download huge apps.
- Improved online chatting and browsing.
- Mobile Hotspot.
A person never knows when he might end up downloading an app that is 100 MB and suddenly due to good speeds by the time a person realizes the app is already in his phone. I have used smartphone in both the 2G and 3G eras and never use to download the big apps in 2G. The speed simply doesn’t allow you to. Being online and using browsers to render full pages increases the bandwidth used significantly.
The third one might be an occasional one for most people but we all know that the laptop uses the bandwidth at a faster rate than mobile. Even if 3-4 days in a month, a mobile hotspot is used it will definitely claim a couple of hundred MBs of data.
All this boils down to one point.
The mobile data use is on a high and will increase with each passing day and as the number of users increase so will the revenues for the companies and demand for better quality of data services.
This is exciting time for mobile in India. Let’s see what 4G might bring to this in the future.