After initial surge, mobile data consumption flattens

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Published: April 2, 2020 4:00:16 AM

Industry body COAI said on Wednesday no additional spectrum is required to maintain quality and stability of networks.

Regarding the data growth in smaller towns and cities, the DoT official said the issue there was of coverage and not capacity. Regarding the data growth in smaller towns and cities, the DoT official said the issue there was of coverage and not capacity.

After rising by 15-20%, the mobile data consumption has flattened over the last couple of days, primarily because most of the video streaming services have reduced their content to standard definition (SD) from high definition (HD), giving a 20% capacity boost to mobile operators.

According to a senior official in the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), the government is monitoring the data usage of both mobile and wireline on a daily basis and it has been seen that over the last few days, the consumption is declining when compared to the peak demand.

In fact, after March 21, the data consumption witnessed the peak two times but things are getting streamlined after March 26, the official said.

After analyzing the data, the government feels that consumption grew more in Tier-I and II cities and towns by over 15%, but in metros like Delhi and Mumbai, the growth rate was only around 3%. “As 3% data growth can be managed easily by operators, there is no need for the time being to consider measures like giving additional spectrum to companies,” said an official.

It must be mentioned that mobile operators had written to the DoT a week back seeking additional spectrum in 1800 MHz band on a temporary basis to meet the surge in data demand. The demand was in anticipation of a high growth rate of data consumption. But things have not turned out as per anticipation of the telcos, so there won’t be a need for more airwaves as of now.

Regarding the data growth in smaller towns and cities, the DoT official said the issue there was of coverage and not capacity. “The companies have enough spectrum in those areas and they need to strengthen the infrastructure to provide more coverage.”

Industry body COAI said on Wednesday no additional spectrum is required to maintain quality and stability of networks. Over the past few days, the industry has seen a flattening of traffic demand on member’s networks. Some of these actions relate to streaming services reducing their content from HD to SD, local municipalities working with operators to bring sealed towers back on line and some redistribution of traffic on the network, the COAI said.

“As a result, operators believe there is no present need to request for any additional spectrum. Based on the present condition of member networks, we believe there is no such present need and operators remain confident that the steps they have taken can, at present, maintain the relatability and quality of their networks and services,” COAI DG Rajan S Mathews said.

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