2G falls amid shift to faster connections

2G data consumption declined for the first time in 2016 after growing 12% in the previous year, as subscribers moved to higher-speed tariff plans


Even with limited 4G network coverage, data consumption on 4G networks reached 22 petabytes (PB) and is expected to increase exponentially. Photo: Reuters
Even with limited 4G network coverage, data consumption on 4G networks reached 22 petabytes (PB) and is expected to increase exponentially. Photo: Reuters

Wireless data consumption continued to increase in India in 2016, driven by 3G and 4G services which contributed 76% of total traffic, according to Nokia’s India Mobile Broadband Index 2017, released on Thursday. Overall data traffic rose 29% in 2016 from the previous year; 3G traffic rose 25% during the period. Data consumption on 4G, introduced only last year, made up 13% of total data consumption. 2G data consumption declined for the first time in 2016 after growing 12% in the previous year, as subscribers moved to higher-speed tariff plans. Even with limited 4G network coverage, data consumption on 4G networks reached 22 petabytes (PB) and is expected to increase exponentially.

Video remained the largest contributor to mobile data consumption. With similar consumption habits, a 4G user consumed 30-40% more data than a 3G user. Video continued to drive data traffic, with direct and indirect channels together contributing 55-65% of the consumption. Social media and communication were the drivers for user engagement in terms of time spent.

Smartphone prices also continued to decline and a majority of smartphone shipments were 4G-compatible handsets. As many as 43% of all mobile devices shipped in 2016 were smartphones. Sales of 4G-enabled smartphones increased 2.7 times from the previous year, while those of 3G-enabled smartphones rose 1.2 times. The entry-level price for a 4G handset dropped to Rs3,000 in 2016.

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