According to latest reports, rural India is growing at a higher rate of about 26 percent as compared to urban India’s growth of around nine percent in terms of mobile internet users. Just between, October 2015-2016, there has been a year-on-year growth of 15 percent, states the report published by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB.
The report went on to say that, “Urban India, with 51 per cent penetration is fast reaching saturation point while rural India with 16 percent is the future market for growth”. Urban India has already reached about 60 percent of internet penetration while rural India has a substantial scope with a potential 750 million internet users.
It has further been estimated that there will be an increase in the number of mobile internet users from 389 million (as of December 2016) to around 420 million users by June 2017. The urban consumers spending would land around ₹275 per month on just internet data.
The report also stated a finding related to the proportion of the total bill that was spent on mobile data vs voice services. The monthly bill estimates for urban India showed that the data component has risen from 45 percent to 65 percent of the total bill in around five years. This has, however, been attributed to the increased affordability of mobile services in India — especially with the entry of a new telecom carrier in the form of Reliance Jio.
The newest entrant in the market has not only signed up more than 100 million subscribers but this increased competition has caused a reduction in the overall monthly average bill. This is a major factor which allows for better rural penetration of telecom services, but on the condition that handsets are available at prices suitable for the lower income section of the population.
According to the IAMAI-IMRB report, the demographics of the country play an important rule in the way mobile internet has been adopted in India, with almost half the mobile internet users being younger than 25 years and comprising primarily of students and young professionals.
The report also distinguished between the usage of mobile internet in rural and urban India by stating,
In urban India, communication, social networking, and entertainment (videos, songs etc) are the top usages of mobile internet, while in rural India, entertainment rules the roost with social networking and communication being the other services in order of preference.
As 77 percent of urban users and 92 percent of rural users already consider mobiles as the primary device for using internet services, the number of users is only bound to substantially increase over the next few years.