India to have 16 crore mobile internet users by 2015

Email (83 percent) and social networking (77 percent) are the most preferred activities on mobile internet

GN Bureau | January 3, 2013



Even as mobile subscribers base has witnessed a decrease in past few months, the usage of mobile internet has steadily increased. Around 165 million people will be using  mobile internet by 2015, according to a report by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).  

The report said that there were 78.7 million mobile internet users in 2012. Out of this, 76 million users accessed internet through mobile phones and rest 2.7 million users accessed internet through dongles (2G, 3G or high sped data card).

Interestingly, there were just 4.1 million mobile internet users in the country in March 2009. Accordign to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), India currently has close to 904 million mobile subscribers.

A key finding of the report is that an average customer spends close to Rs 200 on internet, which according to industry experts, is a healthy sign. Experts say that data services (via internet) will be a major source of revenue for the telecom industry, which has been strugling with steep fall in revenue from voice (calls).  The internet expense constituted 40 percent of the total expense.

Email (83 percent) and social networking (77 percent) were the most preferred activities over mobile internet. In terms of frequency, email, social networking, app store and search were accessed by the users on a daily basis. 

The study was conducted in 31 cities across the country.

According to periodical reports of TRAI, while there is a decline in the subscriber  base in urban areas, a gradual increase has been noticed in rural areas. Thereby, the rural subscribers will form a significant chunk of the total mobile internet subscribers base.

Availability of content and applications in local language, which is currently inadequate, will be a major driving factor of mobile internet. Given the next phase of growth of mobile internet, the demand for localised content is going to soar. Unfortunately, so far it has not caught the attention of government and industry.

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