Despite lowered mobile download speed (February 2018), India had improved its position in terms of worldwide mobile broadband ranking – thanks to 4G
According to Speedtest Global Index (that ranks mobile and fixed broadband speed from around the world on monthly basis), worldwide positioning of India in mobile broadband climbed to 109th rank in February 2018, a little higher than the previous month, even though the average mobile download speed went down to 9.01 from 9.14 in January the same year. Simultaneously, the upload speed dropped too from 3.69 Mbps to 3.66 Mbps in February. Incidentally, Norway tops the list with average mobile broadband download speed reaching 62.07 Mbps during the same period.
The secret behind the enhanced ranking achieved by India in mobile broadband speed can be equated to enhancement of mobile internet infrastructure, while the country has been construed as the largest consumer of mobile data worldwide. According to Nokia MBiT Index 2018, the Indian telecom market has evidenced an exemplary change in its data consumption in 2017, while mobile data usage leapt to well over 144% YoY to arrive at 2.360 petabytes (1 PB = 1000000000000000B = 1015bytes) per month (December 2017). However, looking at it from a realistic point of view, 4G contributed to the lion’s share (around 82%) of the overall data traffic during this period for which Reliance Jio may be reckoned as the prime initiator.
“Mobile broadband performance in India shows that 4G emerged as the key driver of mobile data consumption in 2017, capturing 82% of mobile data traffic and growing 135% YoY with the rapid deployment of 4G networks and affordable devices. 3G data grew 286% in 2017, driven by an increased appetite for data consumption and better coverage” says Amit Marwah, head- customer marketing & communication, Nokia India.
According to a current statement filed by TRAI, the total number of broadband subscribers that include phones and dongles is above 359.80 million (as of January 31, 2018), thereby recording 4.42% growth, as compared to the previous month. With a whopping 168.39 million users under its wing, Reliance Jio may be considered as the largest mobile broadband provider in the Indian sub continent. Ericsson, meanwhile has gone one step ahead, predicting that Reliance Jio will continue further as India will have 800 million VoLTE (Voice over Long-Term Evolution, which is a standard for high-speed wireless communication for mobile phones and data terminals) subscribers by the end of 2023 with a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) representing 42.5% in course of the period between 2017 and 2023.
The spectacular growth of LTE devices has no doubt given rise to storms in mobile broadband tea cups, as a result of which the base of 4G LTE capable devices grew by fantastic proportions, reaching 218 million, while more than 74% supported VoLTE. From a report posted by CyberMedia Research, we understand that shipments of 4G LTE-enabled (4G LTE is a standard for wireless communication of high speed data for mobile phones and data terminals) smartphones constituted more than 47% of the total mobile handsets sold in the country. Later investigation revealed that the bulk of this inventory consisted of Chinese handsets that were as effective as they were cost effective. Like many other fast selling consumer items, these phones served their purpose as minimum featured smartphones, while the market for true better quality devices were retained by Samsung, Apple and a few other leaders in the field. However, the Chinese brands comprising Zopo, Meizu, Oppo seem to have monopolized the Indian smartphone market for quite some time till Indian manufacturers can compete with them..
While this unique sub continent had registered 481 million Internet Users in December 2017, the figure for 2018 has already reached more than 500 million. If we take into consideration the figures provided by IAMAI (Internet and Mobile Association of India), people living in urban areas comprising an estimated figure running into 295 million that use Internet on regular basis. This represents an increase to the tune of 9.66% (December 2016). As for the rural folk, it tallies around 186 million (December 2017), which reflects an increase by 14.11% (December 2016).
From the statements posted above, it will be evident that both urban and rural India is poised towards a digital world where computers would rule the roost.