Indian internet user base crosses 200 million in October: IMAI

Indian internet user base has crossed the 200 million mark in October, said Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI). But these are not active users, showing concerns about poor telecom infrastructure and lack of eco-system.

The number of Indian Internet users is expected to reach 243 million in June 2014. This will assist India to overtake the U.S. as the second largest internet base after China.

However, the Internet penetration is yet to cross 16 percent of the population yet.


The Internet subscriber growth is driven by telecom operators such as BSNL, MTNL, Bharti Airtel, MTS India, Tata Teleservices, Reliance Communications, Aircel, Idea Cellular, Vodafone, etc. Mobile users accessing the Internet are experimenting rapid growth. The growth is despite poor network and poor quality of services in several areas of India.

IMAI says the US currently has an estimated 207 million internet users, while China has 300 million. The 205 million internet users that the IMAI reports for India are not all active users (those who use the internet at least once a month).

While Indians primarily use the internet for communication, largely in the form of email, social media is also an important driver of internet use in India. Facebook had 82 million monthly active users in India by June 30, 2013.

Internet challenges

India has 110 million mobile internet users of which 25 million are in rural India. The growth of internet penetration in rural India is driven largely by the mobile phone; 70 percent of rural India’s active internet population access the web via mobile phones. This may have to do with the difficulty in accessing PCs.

The report says 42 percent of rural India’s internet users prefer using the internet in local languages. The high prevalence of content in English is a hurdle for much of rural India. College-goers remain the largest users of the internet in India, followed by young men.
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