22nd Jul 2015
The mobile Internet users in India is expected to rise to 314 million by 2017 according to a joint report by the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and KPMG.
The number put out extensively in the report predicts almost double than the 159 million mobile Internet users the country had at the end of 2014.
While the numbers may sound astonishing, the seeds for the rapidly increasing mobile Internet market were sown way back in early 2000s when Reliance came up with 'Dhirubhai Ambani Pioneer Offer' which envisioned a mobile handset in every Indian household.
Those were the days when mobile Internet was not as huge as it is today and we can still remember the free Internet access provided through the phone initially. We have definitely come a long way since then.
Adding more numbers in to the scenario, it is further expected that India would be having around 236 million mobile Internet users by 2016 while the country might have over 500 million Internet users by 2017.
Recently, we are witnessing the transition from feature phones to smartphones rapidly which has been accelerated by the availability of low-cost smartphones and data plans. This has empowered consumers in the rural regions to use data connectivity and it is not surprising if we see more usage of Internet in these areas in the months to come.
The urban market has not reached its saturation point. However, it will likely be the non-metros and rural India that will be driving the Internet growth in India. This is where mobile Internet will play a pivotal role in India.
Speaking about some more numbers, there were around 82 million 3G subscribers in India by the end of 2014 and the number is projected to reach 284 million by the end of 2017. Seeing this, it looks like 2G user base in India is observing a decline as more and more customers are expected to migrate from 2G to 3G. The 3G user base in India is rapidly gaining market and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 61.3 percent from 2013-17.
While India has the third largest Internet user base in the world with more than 50 percent mobile Internet users, the Internet penetration is quite low at 10 percent when compared to other developed and developing economies.
However, India has more number of mobile phone owners than those who own personal computers and to promote this further we ar seeing a robust digital infrastructure being setup by the Indian government.
It is also worth noting here that, in 2014-15, the budget set by the government for building infrastructure as per the National Rural Internet and Technology Mission was Rs 500 crore while an additional Rs 100 crore was budgeted for improving e-governance.
To conclude, we can say that increased Internet enabled device penetration, decreasing handset prices and data plan tariffs are helping to create a suitable environment for rapid growth of Mobile Internet in India, with rural India set to take the lead.
Also, adding to this, many companies including Samsung, Xiaomi, Foxconn and Micromax have stepped in to start manufacturing smartphones in India which means that smartphones might get more cheaper and in return, more smartphone users which means increase in the number of mobile Internet users.
The Future Of Mobile Internet Looks Bright In India
IAMAI & KPMG predicts the number of mobile Internet users to hit 236 million by 2016 and 314 million by 2017.
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