Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular hike 2G data rates

Three telecom service providers – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular — have halved the amount of data downloads on 2G networks on certain plans.

Indian mobile customers need to pay 25 percent extra to download 1GB data. For instance, these operators were earlier offering 1 GB internet usage for about Rs 125. Now you get 525 MB for Rs 125.

Other telecoms are likely to follow suit.

Last week, Aircel said it would offer unified data rates. On the other hand, the state-run MTNL is investing around Rs 700 crore to improve 3G data speeds and better customer experience in Mumbai and Delhi.

Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular, three dominant GSM operators, are trying to grab a big Internet market opportunity. Recently, ComScore said at 73.9 million home and work internet users, the Indian online population currently ranks as the 3rd largest in the world after China and the U.S.

mobile internet

Indian telecom operators have already started tapping India’s youth population. With 75 percent of its internet users under the age of 35, India has the youngest skewing online population among BRIC countries.

Smartphone vendors such as Samsung, Nokia, LG, Sony, BlackBerry, Apple, Micromax, Lava, Karbonn, etc. are fuelling the mobile data growth.

Smartphone growth is primarily driven by data usage among young population who are spending considerable time on blogging and social media sites.

According to ComScore, the Indian blogging audience grew 48 percent in the past year to 36 million visitors, while 26 percent of category traffic comes from mobile phones and tablets. 54 million internet users in India watched online videos on their computer, representing a 27-percent increase over the past year.

Global Internet growth is helping search engines like Yahoo. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer on Tuesday said: “In Q3, we launched new user experiences across many of our digital daily habits — Yahoo Screen, My Yahoo, Fantasy Sports, and more. Now with more than 800 million monthly users on Yahoo — up 20 percent over the past 15 months — we’re achieving meaningful increases in user engagement and traffic.”

Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular have earlier said their Capex focus would be on expanding mobile Internet coverage and better customer experience in India. Out of this, both Vodafone and Airtel started their campaigns talking about the quality of their 2G and 3G networks across the country.

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