Cellphones help India edge past US in net usage
India is expected to overtake the US as the second largest internet base in the world soon. According to a recent report released by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB International, the number of internet users in India is expected to rise 18.53% by June 2014 to reach 24.3 Crore. The strong growth is driven by the high adoption of mobile devices as a means to access the internet, according to the report.
The IAMAI-IMRB report said the number of internet users in India has reached 20.5 Crore as of October this year, registering a year-on-year growth of 40% over last year and by December 2013, it is expected to reach 21.3 Crore, when it will exceed the number Internet users in the US. At present, China leads with more than 30 Crore internet users while the US has an estimated 20.7 Crore.
Mobile Internet: A game changer
“Mobile internet is going to be the next game changer for internet in India, says IAMAI Chairman Rajan Anandan. He adds, “The internet in India took more than a decade to move from 10 million to 100 million and only 3 years from 100 to 200 million. From here on, we can hope to develop a robust internet ecosystem with a multitude of local and global players and a thriving Internet economy.”
The report states the number of mobile internet users has witnessed a steady rise, with 11 Crore users in October and is estimated to reach 13 Crore by the end of this year, with analysts predicting that internet access from mobile devices will see huge growth in the coming years. The report shows that mobile internet usage has seen huge jump from the 2012 penetration levels. Compared to the 0.4% mobile internet users in 2012, the penetration had grown to 2.4%, indicating a substantial growth in the mobile internet user penetration levels, it says. “Nearly 90% use internet for online communication and under this, e-mail communication commands the highest share of 78%. Also, social networking continues to be the rage with 75% of the users engaging in it actively while video and e-commerce are also driving this growth,” says Anandan.
A positive impact on GDP
Another report by global consulting firm, McKinsey released earlier this year states the Internet has a potential to contribute $100 billion to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2015, which was nearly $30 billion in 2011, with its exponential growth.
Anu Madgavkar, a senior researcher at McKinsey believes that the mobile devices and technologies will drive the growth and adoption of Internet in India. By 2015, nearly 75% of the Internet population will mostly access the Internet on their mobile devices, such as feature phones, smartphones and tablet computers. She believes that low cost mobile phones and tablet PCs will continue to drive mobile broadband in the coming months.
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