Mobile Internet usage in India grew by 74 per cent, driven by 3G traffic which more than doubled last year, says a study by Nokia Networks. "There has been huge growth momentum of data usage in India on wireless networks driven by 3G traffic.
The data usage grew by 74 per cent and 3G usage was up by 114 per cent at end of 2014, compared to 2013," Nokia Networks Vice President and Head of India Region Sandeep Girotra said here. The 2G mobile Internet usage grew by 41 per cent in 2014, as per Nokia Network's MBit Index study.
The study is based on data collected from Nokia Network's reach in Indian telecom network -- about 30 per cent in terms of network and 70 per cent as device management business. In terms of actual quantum, the total mobile Internet traffic grew to 85 petabyte (PB) at the end of 2014 from 49 PB in 2013.
3G usage is estimated to have contributed 52 per cent in the total data consumption. "On an average a 3G subscriber in India consumed three times more data than a 2G subscriber. 3G is driving the data growth but 2G growth is stabilising. Based on ecosystem, I feel 2G is going to be there in India.
Now operators need to further strengthen their 3G network," Girotra said. In terms of usage, it is not metros but category A service areas -- Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu -- that contributed most to the overall data usage as well as 3G.
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The 3G usage in these service area increased by 129 per cent in 2014 compared to previous year. There are eight category B circles that accounted for second highest data consumption at 30 per cent. The 3G usage in these circles grew by 107 per cent.
Metros - Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata - followed category B service areas in terms of data consumption. "This can be because metros are small compared other category circles. Also people have various means to access Internet apart from mobile," Girotra said. He said the factors that impacted data growth were kind of devices available in the market and network coverage.
"In 2014, as per industry study, 258 million devices were shipped in India. Out of this 22 per cent were 3G smartphone, 70 per cent were feature phone, 7 per cent 2G smartphone and 1 per cent 4G," Girotra said. Telecom operators, who have 3G spectrum, now cover about entire metro, almost equal to that of 2G network in Category A service area, he said.
"In category B and C service areas, 3G coverage is about 40 per cent and 30 per cent as that of 2G network. Next, we will see 4G data usage also picking up. At present 4G numbers are very small," Girotra said.