Data traffic in India grew 47% in 2019, driven mainly by 4G consumption according to a new study published by Nokia. In its annual Mobile Broadband India Traffic Index (MBiT) index report, Nokia said the 4G constituted the 96% of data consumed in the country while 3G saw its highest-ever decline of 30%. The study noted the number of 4G handset devices too grew in the same period. The 4G devices grew by 1.5 times in 2019 to reach 501 million from 330 million a year ago. The number of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) enabled devices grew to 432 million. This is mainly due to the availability of feature-rich smartphones at quite competitive prices.
4G Consumption Was Driven by Popularity of Videos in India
The Nokia study indicated that 4G consumption was mainly driven by the popularity of videos in the country. A growing number of smartphone users coupled with cheapest mobile data plans in the world and rural internet penetration helped popularise videos in the country.
The study noted that the average time spent on OTT platforms in India is 70 minutes per day. The video consumption was also partially fuelled by the increasing number of OTT platforms (like Amazon Prime and Netflix) which are over 30 in India currently. These players are adopting an aggressive distribution strategy and innovations like sachet pricing and mobile-only packs.
“The average monthly data usage per user surpassed 11 GB in December growing 16% annually due to increase in upgradation of the 4G network, low data prices, affordable smartphones, and the ever-increasing popularity of videos,” Nokia India Chief Marketing Officer Amit Marwah said.
He added that data consumption in India is probably the highest in the world, ahead of markets like China, the US, France, South Korea, Japan, Germany and Spain. Interestingly, broadband penetration in India is just 47%, way behind China (95%) and other European nations (100-115%).
Also, Nokia expects that mobile broadband in India is further expected to grow in the near future. The report points out that several innovative Industry 4.0 use cases will also drive uptake of private LTE in the country.
Private LTE is like local LTE with dedicated infrastructure to provide service to a premise, independent of the fluctuations in wide network. This means a private mobile network meant for industrial and business uses.
Nokia had previously partnered with Bharti Airtel to offer private wireless networks to businesses in banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), information technology-enabled services, media and services, manufacturing and distribution.