Mobile internet usage up 29% over previous quarter

Mobile internet usage in India rose 29 percent during October-December 2016 from the previous quarter — driven by low-priced data offers.

Search, social, messaging as a category was the topmost engaged and the average time spent grew by more than 50 percent. WhatsApp witnessed 150 percent growth in usage over the previous quarter, according to a joint report by market research firm Kantar IMRB and Mobile Marketing Association (MMA).

“The entry of Jio with its free 4G data offer redefined the mobile landscape by triggering an increase in data usage amongst consumers and also led to a fundamental restructuring of the telecom industry,” said Hemant Mehta, managing director, Media and Digital, Kantar IMRB.

While women spent nearly 1.3 times more time on online shopping portals as compared to men, it was entertainment that toppled shopping to become the second-most engaged category.

“The jump in mobile usage is not only propelled by free data plans but demonetisation policy also is a significant contributor in driving news and media in the top five,” said Preeti Desai, country manager, Mobile Marketing Association India.

Global telecom industry body GSMA said India is seeing an ongoing technology shift to mobile broadband services and the number of 3G / 4G mobile broadband connections is forecast to reach more than 670 million by 2020, 48 percent of the total connection base.

The number of 4G connections in India is forecast to grow rapidly, growing from 3 million in 2015 to 280 million by 2020.

Telecom operators’ capital expenditure (Capex) will be growing to $34 billion or Rs 2.3 lakh crore during 2016 to 2020, according to GSMA.

As of mid-2016, around 430 million Indian people had access to mobile internet, that will increase to almost 670 million by 2020, or about half the population.