New Delhi:Even as the government promotes initiatives under Digital India, including the use of internet, mobile internet penetration in rural India remains as low as 18%, a report published jointly by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and KANTAR-IMRB said on Thursday.
The figure for urban India stands at 59%.
With an expected focus on new 5G technologies later this year, mobile internet penetration is likely to increase with better quality data services, it said.
“With 59% penetration, urban India is expected to show a slowdown, while rural India with only 18% mobile internet penetration is clearly the next area of growth," the report said.
The report titled Mobile Internet in India 2017, highlights that the availability of affordable smart phones and feature phones and better internet connectivity at affordable rates by telecom providers have played a significant role in the adoption of mobile internet in the last one year.
“Affordability of mobile internet has been the primary factor for the popularity of the service so much so that internet penetration in India is being driven by mobile internet," added the report.
The rate of mobile internet adoption will continue to increase and will reach 478 million by June. The number of mobile internet users according to the report’s estimation has gone up by 17.22% from December 2016 to 456 million users by December 2017, it said.
“Urban India witnessed an estimated 18.64% year-on-year rise, while rural India witnessed an estimated growth of 15.03% during the same period," the report added.
The report also said that mobile internet is predominantly used by youngsters, with 46% of urban users and 57% of rural users being under the age of 25. Urban India has around twice the proportion of users over the age of 45, while the age range of 25 to 44 has almost equal distribution of users in urban and rural areas.
However, mobile internet usage is still limited to few specific service categories, the report added.