Affordability Hinders India's Mobile Internet Adoption

by CXOtoday News Desk    Apr 29, 2015

mobile broadband

Affordability poses a major barrier to mobile broadband adoption, particularly in a market as diverse as India where hugely varied socio-economic factors affect price sensitivity. Nearly 90% of Indian smartphone owners who do not use mobile broadband feel that it is too expensive, says a new Ericsson study, which conducted the study across 33 major cities.

The situaion in rural areas could be even more depleting. But the study concentrated on urban areas itself states that over 60% mobile users in India are facing network problems while accessing internet across locations. ”We have found people are facing differing mobile data issues depending upon location,” say researchers.

The study found that while one in three are now using smartphone and three among five smartphone users have subscribed to mobile broadband, 63% users are facing quality and reliability issues (like voice drops, connection breaks, inconsistent speed, no availability of 3G) inside their house.

Ericsson India head of strategy and marketing Ajay Gupta said that for those who do not use mobile broadband, affordability and digital literacy are prime obstacles to adoption and further 48% of those using mobile internet on 2G or 3G are unable to perceive any difference between 2G and 3G services.

The study was conducted between September 2014 and January 2015 covering 15,000 urban households and people aged between 15 to 75 years. The sample estimated to represent 127 million smartphone users in urban India also said that mobile application related issues while outdoors or commuting take long time to refresh, fail to load, session failures etc affects 68% of consumers.The study further shows 62% users in mid-size and small cities face issues of inconsistent speeds and app usage while outdoors and 63% have web page load time issues indoors. 

“People are willing to pay but there are certain barriers that are coming in way of growth of mobile broadband in the country. Network performance continues to be a challenge and is a key driver of consumer perception,” Gupta said.

According to study, 70% people use mobile broadband to access video and 27% more are willing to start accessing it but not doing at present due to barriers cost and network barrier identified in the survey. Moreover, 61% use mobile data to access social networks, 54% for music and videos download and similar number of people use instant messengers, 46% for internet browsing and 45% of emails.The situation is certainly improving from the past, as the study found people have started making payments from their mobile phones. Thirty six percent people are using mobile broadband for banking services, 25% for bill payments and 17% for e-commerce, shows the study.

He said people are willing to pay more in the range of Rs 100 to Rs 250 for better broadband speed but if network perception is improved and this provides big business opportunity for telecom operators.