India’s Mobile Broadband Users To Grow 4x By 2020

by CXOtoday News Desk    May 09, 2014

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India is expected to have 500 million mobile broadband users by 2020, according to a new Ericsson study. This means the number of mobile broadband users in the country will grow four times in the next six years from its present data.

The study also says the mobile subscriber base is expected to grow to 1145 million by 2020, from 795 million in 2013 and points out that smartphone penetration will reach 45% driven by data usage would increase to 520 million devices from 90 million devices in 2013.

Currently, an average user consumes 155MB of data, which could increase to 390MB by 2017 and 620MB by 2020, suggests the report. The growth in mobile data usage would help existing telecom players reach newer levels, while some regional players may also surface.

What’s driving mobile broadband?

The growth could be triggered by primary uses such as social networking, web browsing and instant messaging via popular apps like WhatsApp and WeChat.

Ajay Gupta, head of strategy & marketing, Ericsson India said that the Internet access through mobile was earlier limited to ‘some-time’ of the day, but times have changed and this access has now changed to ‘real-time’.

“Today there is certain level of penetration of 3G services but going forward, by 2020, we will have mobile broadband subscribers, which are about half a billion, which means about 400 million will still be 3G and 100 million will be 4G,” he said estimating the country’s 3G SIMs to grow from 70 million today to 400 million in the next six years.

There has also been an increase in the online video consumption over the past few years. However, the report states that mobile broadband usage is still a challenge in India, considering the low mobile broadband user base.

Mammoth task for operators

Operators looking to effectively monetize broadband services and tap future growth opportunities need to significantly invest in scaling network performance in three areas - ensuring network ubiquity, consistent app coverage and new charging models based ‘personalization’ that address consumer’s specific preferences. “Consumers today expect ubiquitous and high performing networks everywhere they go.

At the same time, different applications being used by consumers require more and more from the networks,” says Gupta, giving the example that if social media today is all about sharing images and text, tomorrow it will be all about sharing HD Video in real time. Therefore, to ensure a superior experience for consumers, operators need to ensure quality ‘app coverage’.

Nishant Batra, Head - Engagement Practices, Ericsson India sums up that the device experience, the network experience as well as the App experience – all together will constitute a superior consumer experience in the coming days.