The above graph represents the total volume of mobile data usage in India by network type, starting from 2014 to 2018. The total volume of mobile data usage reached an all-time high of 46,404 million GB by the end of 2018. The yearly growth of 131% in data usage is primarily driven by 4G technology, followed by 3G, 2G and CDMA technologies. Indians consumed a record 40,304 million GB 4G data using their mobile devices during 2018.
Mobile Data Usage in India: History
|Source||Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)|
|Last Updated||03 October 2019|
|Duration||2014 – 2018|
As the graph shows, the mobile data consumption in India increased rapidly after the launch of 4G technology in 2016. India witnessed a whopping 491.9% YoY increase in the 4G data usage in just one year – from just 2,775 million GB in 2016 to 16,426 million GB in 2017. We can also see the tremendous 174.95% YoY growth in the number of 4G data subscribers in India during the same period.
Meanwhile, the volume of 3G data usage in India also increased from 1,221 million GB in 2016 to 3,187 million GB in 2017, representing an astonishing 161% YoY growth. In 2018, the 3G data subscribers in India consumed 5,654 million GB from their mobile phones. It is important to note that the annual consumption of 3G data on mobiles increased over 16X between 2014 and 2018.
It was the calendar year 2015 when the total 2G data consumption by mobile subscribers in India reached an all-time high of 479 million GB, with nearly 41% YoY increase. However, the 2G data usage started declining from 2016 when the 4G was launched in the country. In 2017, the usage of 2G data on mobiles declined to 423 million GB, from 477 million GB in the previous year.
By the end of 2018, a total of 443 million GB data was consumed by 2G data subscribers in India, thanks to Reliance Jio which is dominating India’s feature phone market with a 38% share as of CY 2018.
India’s Telecom Industry: Additional Information
India is currently the second-largest country in the world in terms of the number number of mobile subscribers and internet users. While the penetration of internet users in India is still moderate, mobile phone subscribers have almost hit the saturation point with 80% penetration.
The Telecom industry in India is going through consolidation after the debut of Reliance Jio. The government-backed BSNL is struggling and is almost on the verge of collapsing. On the other hand, in order to compete with Reliance Jio that has taken the industry by the storm with its future-ready network, all the top players have shaken hands.
Airtel and Tata Docomo merger paved the way for other companies struggling with declining ARPU and mobile subscriber base. Soon, Vodafone and Idea followed the footmarks and merged together to become the largest telecom provider in India. The celebration, however, was short-lived as Reliance Jio leapfrogged Vodafone Idea by the end of June 2019.
The telecom market in India is divided into three segments – wireless, wireline and internet services.
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