A report titled ‘Mobile Internet in India 2017’, published jointly by the IAMAI (Internet and Mobile Association of India) and KANTAR-IMRB, estimates the number of mobile Internet users in India to reach 478 Mn by June 2018.
According to the report, the country recorded 291 Mn urban mobile Internet users and 187 Mn rural mobile Internet users as on December 2017. The number of mobile Internet users reached 456 Mn by December 2017, an increase of 17.22% from the previous year.
Some of the key points highlighted in the report are:
- Urban India witnessed an estimated 18.64% Y-o-Y rise, while rural India witnessed an estimated growth of 15.03% during the same period.
- Mobile Internet is predominantly used by the youngsters, with 46% of Urban users and 57% of Rural users being under the age of 25.
- Urban India has around twice the proportion of users over the age of 45, while the age range of 25 to 44 has almost an equal distribution of the users in urban and rural areas.
- Young students are the most prolific users of most of the services. The middle-aged and older men show the greater propensity of using the social networking and browsing websites; with older men having lower habits of audio or video streaming.
- Working women have the highest propensity for social networking and browsing, while non-working women have the highest propensity for text chatting.
- Expenditure on voice has been steadily decreasing from 2013; and with the popularity of VOIP and video chatting, the expenditure on voice services has decreased dramatically in the recent times. In just five years from 2013 to 2017, the ratio of Data: Voice went from 45:55 to 84:16.
The report also highlighted that with 59% penetration, urban India is expected to show a slowdown while rural India with only 18% mobile Internet penetration is clearly the next area of growth.
It also went on to reveal that affordability on the mobile Internet has been the primary factor for the huge surge popularity of the service; “so much so that internet penetration in India is being driven by Mobile Internet.”
The growth of the mobile Internet has been attributed to various stakeholders such as telecom operators, handset manufacturers and Internet service providers.
Emphasising on the scope of growth, the report suggested that the advent of digital entertainment has had a considerable impact on the mobile Internet usage and streaming services have a symbiotic linkage with usage growth.
Also, the report has noted that many telecom service operators have now bundled subscription of such services to lure the customers; while the latter is more likely to take-up higher quality connections to ensure lag-free streaming and better audio or video quality.
In the coming year, the report expects that the National Telecom Policy 2018, that focusses on new technologies like 5G, will promote a better quality data services at more affordable prices and can be expected to help address the digital divides and promote the Internet penetration in the rural areas via mobile Internet.
A report ‘Internet Trends 2017’ by Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers (KPCB), revealed that India had 355 Mn internet users in June 2016 which rose to 277 Mn broadband users in March 2017.
According to a recent study by Google-KPMG, India is expected to have 735 Mn Internet users by 2021.
With the recent report of IAMAI which estimates Internet users in India to reach 500 Mn by June 2018, the perspective of mobile Internet usage gives an insight into the growing dependency on mobile Internet and the growth of digital spending in the country.