The number of mobile internet users in India is skyrocketing, especially after the advent of Reliance Jio. While the country’s mobile Internet ecosystem is going through a major shift, telecom providers have started exploring the feasibility of upgrading their infrastructure in a bid to compete with next-generation competitors, like Reliance Jio. The ongoing price war of mobile data has made the high-speed mobile internet more affordable than ever before.
Despite the revolutionary infrastructure upgrades and exploded adoption of mobile and internet, 40% of mobile internet users in India are still hooked to the 2G network. The latest IAMAI-IMRB report estimates 450 million mobile internet users in India in June 2017. According to Dazeinfo Research, only 272 million mobile users in India connect to the Internet using high-speed 3G or 4G band. Rest 178 million mobile internet users in India are yet to upgrade to high-speed connectivity.
From 371 million in June 2016 to 450 million in June 2017, the total number of mobile internet subscribers in India increased 21.3%. Interestingly, during the same period, the number of high-speed mobile Internet users in India, using 3G or 4G connectivity, went up by 91.5%. In June 2016, only 142 million mobile internet users were accessing the internet through high-speed data connectivity, also known as mobile broadband. The figure has swollen to 272 million in June 2017, nearly doubling the number of high-speed mobile internet users in India in just one year.
On the other hand, though the number of mobile internet users in India, who connect to the internet using 2G is still sizable, the share is declining. In June 2016, while 61%, or 228 million, mobile internet users were accessing the internet using the 2G network, the share has been squeezed to 40% in June 2017.
The lowering ASP (Average Selling Price) of 4G smartphone and jaw-dropping discounts in high-speed data price have made the adoption of 4G much easier, compared to the early last year. While the powerful 4G-enabled smartphones are available from $100 onwards, the average price of 4G data is declined to $0.25/GB (INR 15/GB) from $3 (INR 200) or more a year ago, thanks to Reliance Jio.
4G Mobile Internet Scenario Is Disappointing
India is the fastest growing digital economy worldwide. Afer China, India is the second largest country by the number of mobile users and internet users. The country is witnessing 4G revolution for the last one year. More than 60% of high-speed mobile internet users in India are believed to be using 4G data connectivity.
On the flip side, the pathetic infrastructure condition of 4G network in India has placed the country in 74th position, in terms of speed, in the list of 75 countries having 4G connectivity. According to the latest report, the average 4G speed in India has come down to 5.14 Mbps in March this year from 6.39 Mbps in November last year.
But, India Is Driving the Growth
Despite all such challenges, India is still the most promising mobile market for telecom companies. At the time when most of the other competitive markets either have saturated or are staring to saturation in the next few years, India will account for 36% of the new mobile subscribers worldwide by 2020. It is estimated that the number of mobile subscribers worldwide will grow to 5.7 billion by 2020, adding 860 million new mobile subscribers, at CAGR of 4.2%. Out of 860 million new mobile subscribers by 2020, 310 million will come from India alone.