Mobile Internet grows despite network problems, says survey

According to the report, three in five smartphone users in urban India use mobile broadband


According to the report, 58% of those currently not using e-commerce services via mobile Internet, said they would begin to do so in the next six months. Photo: Bloomberg
According to the report, 58% of those currently not using e-commerce services via mobile Internet, said they would begin to do so in the next six months. Photo: Bloomberg

New Delhi: More Indians have taken to mobile internet in the last two years despite persistent service quality problems, the results of a survey showed.

Adoption of mobile Internet in the lower socio-economic segment has increased to 45% in 2015 from 38% in 2013, an Ericsson Consumer Lab report said.

According to the report, three in five smartphone users in urban India use mobile broadband. Also, mid-size and small cities are showing higher smartphone penetration levels at 33%, against 27% in big non-metros and large cities.

The report also said the share of smartphone users among those above 50 quadrupled to 4% in 2015 from 1% in 2013 as more consumers used emails, chat applications and instant messaging to stay connected with loved ones across the globe.

“The Internet is finally coming of age and is empowering cross sections of Indian society. Though the most used smartphone services in India are for social networking and instant messaging, the usage of banking, e-commerce, navigation and cloud storage apps and services is increasing. It is for this reason we are seeing uptake and digital transformation of many industries like retail, transportation, and banking,” said Ajay Gupta, vice-president and head of strategy and marketing, Ericsson India.

Video streaming accounted for the fastest growing service on mobile data, followed by social networking with 70% of mobile broadband smartphone users regularly stream videos on their smartphones, and 61% use social networking.

According to the report, 58% of those currently not using e-commerce services, said they would begin to do so in the next six months. Navigation services and cloud storage have also seen an upswing.

However, quality of Internet connection, session failures and poor app accessibility continue to be major problems, the report said.

“63% of users report that they face quality and reliability issues, such as lost connections and inconsistent network speeds, when using mobile networks indoors. App-related issues while outdoors or commuting, such lengthy lag times, apps taking a long time to refresh, maps failing to load, and session failures affect 68% of consumers. Such problems are more common in mid-size and small towns compared to large cities,” the report said.

For those consumers in India who do not use mobile broadband, affordability and digital literacy are the prime obstacles to adoption, according to the report.

The survey sample is estimated to represent 127 million smartphone users in urban India, Ericsson ConsumerLab claimed.

READ MORE