New Delhi: The number of mobile Internet users in India is projected to grow 21% to reach 371 million by June 2016 from 306 million in December 2015, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and market research firm IMRB International.
The study reveals that the share of mobile Internet spending out of the average monthly bill for mobile phones has increased to 64% in 2015 as compared to 54% in 2014. On the other hand, the overall average monthly bill came down by 18% to ₹ 360 in 2015 as compared to last year.
This indicates that consumers are engaging more through the data for connectivity in order to cut the money spent on voice data.
The usage was led by activities such as online chatting (76%) and social networking (73%) in 2015.
Extensive use of apps, freely available over the Internet, was attributed as the main reason for the rise in data usage. “The price sensitive Indian users are highly inclined towards this and use such apps for calling and communication purpose. Many of the users have completely done away with the SMS, which earlier was a one of the main contributor to their mobile bill," the report said.
Out of the 306 million users, 219 million were reported to be from urban India and 87 million from rural India. The penetration of mobile Internet in India stood at 23% as on December 2015 with standalone urban penetration growing to 53% up from 29% in 2014. In the rural parts of the country the penetration is still to reach double digit.
However the rural user-base has reached 30% of the overall mobile Internet users and is expected to grow rapidly in the coming two years, the report said.
According to a recent report by market research firm Counterpoint, India has surpassed the United States to becomes the second largest smartphone market in the world.
The smartphone user base has increased to 220 million by the end of 2015.
Smartphone shipments grew 15% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2015. For the complete year, the shipment crossed the 100 million mark.