Average monthly data usage per user surpasses 11 GB in December: Report

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Published: February 28, 2020 12:01:48 AM

4G average data usage per month was at 11.7 GB as the availability of regional content at affordable prices have continued to drive monthly data usage in India.

The number of 4G handsets devices grew 1.5x to reach 501 million units due to the availability of a range of feature-rich models and competitive prices, the index said. (Representative image)The number of 4G handsets devices grew 1.5x to reach 501 million units due to the availability of a range of feature-rich models and competitive prices, the index said. (Representative image)

In December, average monthly data usage per user surpassed 11 GB in India, growing at 16% annually due to increase in upgradation of the 4G network, low data prices, affordable smartphones and increasing popularity of streaming videos, said Nokia in its annual Mobile Broadband India Traffic Index (MbiT).

The index also revealed that overall data traffic in the country increased 47% in 2019, driven by continued fourth-generation wireless (4G) consumption that constituted 96% of the total data traffic consumed across the country.

Significantly, India’s data traffic grew 44 times in the past four years, from 2015-19, which is one of the highest in the world. The year 2019 saw total broadband subscribers in the country surpassing 600 million.

The number of 4G handsets devices grew 1.5x to reach 501 million units due to the availability of a range of feature-rich models and competitive prices, the index said.

A growing number of smartphone users, coupled with one of the cheapest mobile data tariffs in the world and growth in rural internet penetration, have led to the growing popularity of videos in the country. The video consumption was fuelled by the rising number of over-the-top (OTT) platforms with over 30 platforms in India currently, easy availability of regional content, aggressive distribution strategy and innovations like sachet pricing and mobile-only packs by OTT players. The average time spent on OTT platforms in India is 70 minutes per day, the Nokia report said.

MBiT indicated that several innovative Industry 4.0 cases in use will drive the uptake of private Long-Term Evolution LTE in the country such as remote monoitoring in manufacturing and mining, material handling through Augmented Reality in warehouses and logistics. This will advance digital transformation across different verticals and will pave the way for 5G technology.

Sanjay Malik, senior vice-president & head of India market, Nokia, said: “We believe the migration of subscribers to 4G will continue to drive broadband growth in the country. The upcoming 4K / 8K videos and Industry 4.0 solutions that promise to enhance productivity and bring down expenses for the industries across different verticals, demand ultra high speed and extremely low latency. The Indian telcos will need to consider other connectivity solutions to leverage the new opportunities and to address the growing data consumption.”

According to the report, 4G data users have increased 38% y-o-y with the 4G penetration in the country reaching around 44% while 3G subscribers exhibited a steep decline of 41% in 2019. Circle categories A, B and C saw a 50% growth as operator focused on 4G in these cities.

Average monthly data traffic per user increased 16% annually, driven by increase in data subscribers and mobile video consumption. Continuous increase in data traffic had resulted in average data usage per month to grow exponentially at CAGR of 93% over the last four years.

The report also found that video consumption was the key driver of data growth. Some of the factors infuencing online video growth include cheapest mobile data, increase in rural internet penetration , increase in number of OTT platforms and increase in investment in creation of original content by OTT players.

4G average data usage per month was at 11.7 GB as the availability of regional content at affordable prices have continued to drive monthly data usage in India.

Devices of 4G technology grew 1.5 times in 2019 on the back of growth of the mid-tier segment where all device manufacturers introduced a variety of models with flagship-grade features and capabilities. Also, users, who are looking to upgrade from the existing smartphones, added to the rise in 4G devices.

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