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Internet trends report highlights India’s mobile obsession, Reliance Jio disruption

The growth in wireless broadband data consumption indicates the disruptive effect of Reliance Jio on the Indian Internet and telecom market

tech Updated: Jun 01, 2017 14:30 IST
The growth in wireless broadband data consumption indicates the disruptive effect of Reliance Jio on the Indian Internet and telecom market
The growth in wireless broadband data consumption indicates the disruptive effect of Reliance Jio on the Indian Internet and telecom market(AFP file photo)

The volume of wireless broadband data consumed by Indians has risen sharply, from less than 200 million GB a month in June 2016, to around 1.3 billion GB a month in March 2017, according to the Internet Trends Report 2017 from storied Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers (KPCB).

The growth indicates the disruptive effect of Reliance Jio on the Indian Internet and telecom market. Data prices per GB have fallen from around $3.5 to $1.8 in the same period, according to the report that was released on Wednesday in the US. Reliance Jio itself charges around $0.17, the report said, although most consumers probably pay less.

The report highlights the growing dominance of mobile as the medium of choice in India which, according to it, has 355 million Internet users (June 2016) and 277 million broadband users (March 2017). Only China with around 700 million Internet users has more. Interestingly, 72% of Internet users in India are less than 35 years of age.

80% of all web traffic in India emanates from the mobile, a proportion that is the second highest in the world, after Nigeria. Indians also spend 28 hours a week on the mobile, as compared to 4 hours on TV and 2 hours reading print publications and books. Of the time spent on the mobile, 45% is on entertainment, 34% on search, social media and messaging, and 4% on shopping.

Android is the king of mobile operating systems in India, and the country has the highest usage of Android phones (by time spent, and the data doesn’t include China) and sees the most number of downloads from the Google Play Store (again, the data doesn’t include China).

Chinese mobile phone makers currently dominate India’s smartphone market and account for over 50% of all smartphones sold; other global sellers account for around 35%.

The report also highlights one of the big challenges to the mobile ecosystem in India -- cost. While prices of smartphones are down, a typical one still costs around 13% of per capita GDP. That puts it out of reach of many Indians. India fares better on the data front, with the annualized cost of 1 GB of data a month working out to less than 2% of per capita GDP.

KPCB’s Internet Trends Report is published every year and is considered one of the most authoritative reports on the Internet economy and ecosystem around the world. It is authored by Mary Meeker, a partner at the firm who was once described by Fortune magazine as the best at “spotting big-picture trends” before they become big or, even, trends. Meeker was previously an analyst at Morgan Stanley which she left in 2010.

(Published in arrangement with Live Mint)