Contrary to popular perception, speed may not be the primary factor in deciding an internet plan that is good for you
Over the years, demand and usage of internet among Indian consumers has grown significantly. Research reports suggest that India has the third largest number of internet users in the world, next to the US and China.
What’s more, the numbers are expected to triple by 2016, from 125 million in 2011 to 330 million by 2016 as suggested by reports. Among the many factors that are driving this growth, affordable internet plans, rich media content & applications and the growing adoption on account of cheaper smart devices such as phones and tablets remain the key drivers.
One also notices significant shift in the usage patterns of internet user. Like what happened to the fixed line with the advent of mobile phones, internet too is moving from the desktop, a shared device, to personal devices like smart phones, notebooks and tablets.
From being fixed to mobile and the most prominent change is in how much data one transfers or how much is the data usage per month per individual or per home. We are already seeing that usage is doubling every 18 months for every user and it is estimated by different research reports that the average data usage per person or per home is expected to multiply 100 times of the current usage levels, before it settles down.
This is leading to a shift in the preferences or the buying mindset of an user. While earlier, a consumer would feel privileged to get a broadband speed of 512kbps, today even a 1Mbps connection may not meet their satisfaction level.
While Service providers are creating a wide variety of plans and drumming up the proposition of speed, users remain perplexed on which plan makes most sense to them. The vast pool of content besides videos and social media applications available on the internet has further raised doubts in the users mind – what should they look for in a plan? What aspects should they consider while opting for specific packages? Is speed the only criteria or should there be a balance struck between Speed, GBs and Budget? In an era of marketing gimmicks, and plenty of options to choose from, a user must question the service provider on whether it actually needs high speed at a higher price point for what can be an average usage of few hundreds of MBs per month?
Think about it: Would spending a lot of money to own a high end premium car that can speed upto say 200 kmph only to drive it on jam-packed roads on a daily basis, make sense OR would a standard mid range car that gives more miles per litre be a prudent option? We know that the value conscious Indian consumer prefers mileage over peak speeds. Similarly, the ‘luxury’ of speed in internet usage depends on what exactly the user wants to derive from it given that internet usage is different for different users. So, a user surfing and accessing basic internet content might require something totally different in terms of speed compared to, say, a user who wants to stream or download rich media content on a regular basis. Simply put, for users, it is important to question the utility of the product before paying for it.
For instance, to play an online game, uninterrupted streaming of a cricket match or to watch a video on internet, you would require a connection with just 1 Mbps speed. At 4 Mbps speed, you would probably be streaming or downloading three to four videos at the same time. What it essentially means that beyond a point speed does not matter much. A user should not contemplate much on speed once it allows them to do what they wish.
In addition to this, the high speed of the internet also depends upon the server and client device capability to receive and send packet data and the usage quota provided by an internet service provider. The users should be cognizant of the fact that the high speed broadband may not offer them any value if the internet plan restricts their usage to say lesser GBs per month than what they consume.
Consumers are smart and eventually make the right choices but in case one was looking for a recommended process to choose a Broadband plan then here is one possible and hopefully a simple one:
Filter all plans that are within your budget
Shortlist those which meet your GB or peak monthly usage requirement, without a speed downgrade or throttling
- From the shortlist go for that plan which has the highest speed.
Chief Marketing Officer
Tikona Digital Networks Pvt Ltd