The growth of mobile Internet user base in Madhya Pradesh has failed to keep pace with most states due to low penetration of smartphones and lack of know-how among other reasons, say experts.
The mobile Internet user base in Madhya Pradesh circle, which also includes Chhattisgarh, has touched 1.2 crore mark, with the state adding 10 lakh users in the past one year, a growth of about 9% as against all India growth of 28%.
According to TRAI figures, there were 5.66 crore mobile users in Madhya Pradesh circle, as on August 2014.
The industry estimates suggest that there are 1.5 crore smartphone users in Madhya Pradesh circle but the number is expected to shoot up in the coming years. Telecom companies are of the view that future growth in the industry will be data driven.
Bharti Airtel (Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh) chief executive officer (CEO) Vir Inder Nath said, "The Indian telecom market has entered a phase of data led growth. As data networks expand and Internet-enabled devices become affordable, more and more Indians are getting online on their mobile devices. However, our market research has shown that there are millions of customers across the country and in Madhya Pradesh who own an Internet-ready mobile device and are keen on getting online, but are apprehensive due to reasons like lack of know-how and fear of incurring heavy data charges. Our ‘one touch Internet’ will address these very customer challenges and play the crucial role of hand-holding first-time mobile users as they discover the Internet."
Another factor is that use of mobile phones is still limited to the urban parts of the state. According to industry estimates, mobile users in rural MP are just 15% to 20% of the total rural subscribers. In contrast, Indore alone accounts for 12 lakh mobile Internet users out of 1.2 crore users in the entire Madhya Pradesh circle.
Telecom service providers are optimistic about the increase in penetration of smart phones in the coming years. At present, the share of smart phones in India is about 30% and the number is expected to double in the next two to three years.
Mobile phone users in MP/CG5.66 cr
Smartphone users in MP/CG 1.5 cr
Internet mobile users in MP/CG 1.2 cr
Internet mobile users in Indore 12 lakh