The growth of 3G internet is often said to have never taken off properly in the country with shabby infrastructure, high price plans, and worst of all-2G-like speeds most of the time.
However, the MBiT Index study — Nokia’s annual report on mobile broadband performance in India, tells a different story and has revealed an exponential growth of 3G data traffic across the country in 2015.
It also indicates how a growing device ecosystem and increased adoption of multimedia services will boost traffic further as 4G LTE networks are rolled out across the country.
According to the study, overall mobile data traffic grew by 50% in 2015, with 3G traffic outpacing 2G across all circles for the first time. This was the result of a mature network, device and content ecosystem.
3G device penetration more than doubled during the year while new network launches and expansions in existing circles boosted data adoption beyond larger towns and cities.
Sandeep Girotra, Vice President and Head of India Market, Nokia said:
Aggressive 3G network expansion in existing circles and new launches by operators have been instrumental in increasing data traffic in India. It is expected that this data traffic growth will be boosted in coming years by the auction of additional spectrum, an increase in smartphone penetration and the development of the content ecosystem. Moreover, the rapid evolution of the device ecosystem, supported by a decline in prices, presents significant growth opportunities for operators as they launch and expand 4G LTE networks in coming years.
The study also revealed the growing inclination of subscribers for multimedia services, with video and social networking now making up 60% of data traffic.
Average monthly data usage for 3G surpassed 750 MB per subscriber and, with operators poised to launch 4G LTE networks, faster data speeds will fuel an even greater surge in traffic – echoing 4G LTE launches in other parts of the world where operators have traditionally seen data usage increase by up to four times.
The report also gave some insights into the key trends for operators in 2016. Apart from the faith on the growth of 4G LTE device ecosystem, the report also said that 2G still has the potential to drive internet adoption in Category B and C circles in the short to medium term.
Furthermore, it also said that with evolving device support for 3G carrier aggregation, the operators could potentially offer DC-HSPA as a substitute for 4G LTE in some circles in the short term.
MBiT Index is based on Nokia’s analysis of data obtained from various sources, including input and analysis done by Analysis Mason.