New Delhi: More than half the Internet users in India will use their mobile phones to access the Web by 2015 compared with 15% in other developing countries, McKinsey and Co. said in a report released on Wednesday.

Internet-linked consumption and expenditure contributed around $30 billion, or 1.6% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), in 2011, said the report titled Online and upcoming: The Internet’s impact on India.

The contribution could treble to $100 billion, or 2.8-3.3% of GDP, if “the country follows an inclusive path of Internet expansion", the report said.

India will be second only to China in terms of Internet users by 2015, with 330 million Indians online, the report said. India now has 120 million Internet users, making for a penetration of 10%, which is one of the lowest in the world.

Over the next three years, India will add the highest number of Internet users, taking the penetration rate to 28%, still lower than the expected world average of 43%.

Discussing the findings of the report at a panel discussion, McKinsey Asia chairman Gordon Orr said even if India doesn’t take a very aggressive approach towards promoting the Internet, the country will still have 330 million Net users by 2015.

However, India should target an Internet user base of 500 million by 2015 through enabling low-cost devices, promoting digital literacy, ensuring local language content and promoting Internet entrepreneurs, he said.

Rajat Kathuria, chief executive of the economic think tank ICRIER, said the government has to promote a broadband ecosystem for Internet penetration to increase. He added that the paradigm that worked for mobile telephony in the country will not work for the Internet. India is the world’s second-largest wireless phone market.

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