A new Ericsson study suggests that the mobile broadband user base in India will grow four times in the next six years. The mobile subscriber base is expected to grow to 1145 million by 2020, from 795 million in 2013. The study also points out that smartphone penetration driven by data usage would increase to 520 million devices from 90 million devices in 2013.
Currently, an average user consumes 155MB of data, which could increase to 390MB by 2017 and 620MB by 2020, suggests the report. The growth in mobile data usage would help existing telecom players reach newer levels, while some regional players may also surface. The growth could be triggered by primary uses such as social networking, web browsing and instant messaging via popular apps like WhatsApp and WeChat.
Ajay Gupta, head of strategy & marketing, Ericsson India said that the Internet access through mobile was earlier limited to ‘some-time’ of the day, but times have changed and this access has now changed to ‘real-time’. “Today there is certain level of penetration of 3G services but going forward, by 2020, we will have mobile broadband subscribers, which are about half a billion, which means about 400 million will still be 3G and 100 million will be 4G,” he added. This means it expects 3G SIMs to grow from 70 million today to 400 million by 2020.
There has also been an increase in the online video consumption over the past few years. However, the report states that mobile broadband usage is still a challenge in India, considering the low mobile broadband user base.