Opensignal in a report released on Monday said that it did not detect an “statistically significant” increase in the percentage of time the Indian users spent on WiFi. The company said that the report was based on the data between the second week of January and third week of March. According to Opensignal, smartphone users across the world including North America, parts of Europe, Australia, Brazil, Peru and Argentina spent more time on WiFi. The company said that the increase was particularly visible on the third week of March with the change highlighted on a week-on-week basis. In contrast, Opensignal said that India was among the selected list of countries that did not register an increase in the percentage of users spending time on WiFi. Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Vietnam are said to be the other countries that did not register an increase.
Indian Smartphone Users Spent 9.8% of Time on WiFi
According to the data from Opensignal, Indian smartphone users spent 9.8% of time on WiFi between March 16 to March 22, 2020, registering no increase as compared to the week prior. In the second week of January, Indian users spent 10.2% of time on WiFi. India registered its highest of 11 percent only twice during the period, between January 13 to January 19 and February 3 to February 9.
In Contrast, the percentage of users spending time on WiFi in Spain is at 73.1% while in Germany, the number stands at 71.4% for the week ending March 22. Both Spain and Germany registered a week-on-week increase as data suggests that the percentage of time spent by smartphone users in the week prior were at 62.6% and 65.9% respectively. In the second week of January, the percentage of time spent by smartphone users on WiFi in Spain and Germany were at 61.9% and 66.4% respectively.
Data from other countries including Philippines and Egypt also showed an increase in the percentage of time spent by users on WiFi. In particular, users in the Philippines spent 63.3% of time on WiFi between March 16 to March 22.
“Normally, people spend more of their time connected to Wifi on weekends and during public holidays — demonstrating that it is a good indicator of increased time spent at home,” Opensignal said in its report.
The company said that many countries across the world have now imposed restrictions on the mobility of citizens to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Opensignal said that the average percentage of time that users spend on WiFi is an early indicator of change.
“We are in a fluid and fast-moving situation as people adapt their lives to a ‘new normal’ but one which has not yet stabilized,” Opensignal said.
Crucially, it has to be noted that while many companies across India implemented work from home rules in the second week of March, the Indian PM announced that the country would head into a complete lockdown on March 24. It remains to be seen if the upcoming data from Opensignal shows an increase in users spending more time connected to WiFi.
India Has 19.14 Million Wireline Broadband Users
According to the data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), India has only 19.14 million wireline broadband users for a period ending December 2019, indicating that more users use mobile broadband to perform professional work.
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the Industry body representing telecom operators like Vodafone Idea, Jio and Airtel has been vocal about its member networks witnessing a surge in data usage. While COAI has now backed down from its initial request to the government for the grant of additional spectrum, it has urged users to use data more responsibly. Further, COAI also appealed to the streaming companies to default the video content to standard definition.