Cheaper data tariff driving rural boom in internet usage, says govt | business | Hindustan Times
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Cheaper data tariff driving rural boom in internet usage, says govt

business Updated: Dec 13, 2015 23:07 IST
M Rajendran
M Rajendran
Hindustan Times
Internet

India has overtaken US and is behind only China on internet usage, and the government expects user-base to hit 450 million by next year-end.(AFP File Photo)

Declining data cost is boosting data traffic and internet usage in India and will take rural users to 87 million by December-end and 106 million by end-March 2016, a study by the communications ministry says.

India has overtaken US and is behind only China on internet usage, and the government expects user-base to hit 450 million by next year-end.

“Our studies have shown that the growth of e-commerce activities and government-to-citizen online services by next year will help India gain internet users,” a top official in communications ministry told HT. “The growth will also be fuelled by demand for data and smart phones.”

Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Pune accounted for 31% of the total 375 million users as of October 2015.

The rise in userbase in smaller cities was a massive 60%. In urban areas the number of users rose by 40%, while in rural areas it was almost double at 77%. “We expect the mobile internet users in rural areas to touch 87 million by this year-end and 110 million by 2016, which will fuel mobile data traffic,” the official said.

The government’s expectation is supported by a recent Ericsson Mobility Report that said “Mobile data traffic is now forecast to grow 10-fold by end of 2021, driven by rising video content on smart phones and tablets...in 2015 video accounted for 50% of total mobile data traffic.”

With companies sniffing big revenue potential in local language data, more solutions, including website, digital media, call centres, analytics, logistics and outbound communications are expected in vernacular, further driving data consumption.