According to a report by Mobile Broadband Index Study on mobile broadband performance in India, 4G was the major source of data traffic in 2016.
The report says, though 4G coverage is yet to penetrate across all circles, it contributed to 13 percent of the total data traffic pan-India in a span of years since its launch, while 3G grew by 25 percent during the same period.
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"Indian operators will need to explore technologies such as carrier aggregation, small cells, sectorization, and fiberization to enhance overall efficiency and increase capacity to meet the growing demands," said Sanjay Malik, Head of India Market, Nokia, in a statement.
"Video remained the largest contributor of mobile data consumption. With similar consumption habits, a 4G user consumed 30pecent-40percent more data than a 3G user," the report added.
However, social media and instant messaging acted as the anchor platforms engaging users for the maximum time.
Within messaging apps, WhatsApp was the most popular one with over 160 million users, making India its largest market globally.
It says that 4G monthly data usage per subscriber was over 1,400MB compared to nearly 850MB per subscriber for 3G, primarily driven by faster download speeds over 4G networks and larger screen with a higher resolution of 4G devices that accelerated data consumption.
The 4G-enabled device ecosystem also grew tremendously supported by affordable devices, resulting in 2.7 times growth in a year. Together, 4G and 3G contributed to 76 percent of the data traffic across India. The report also noted that 2G saw a drop in volumes by 13 percent, but remains the main carrier for voice telephony.
4G-enabled smartphones saw 2.7 times increase over the last year, while 3G-enabled smartphones witnessed 1.2 times increase.
Uptake of new-age technologies such as Internet-of-things (IoT), evolving concepts such as smart cities, and new devices offering virtual reality experiences will all enhance data usage going forward, the report added.