New Delhi: India has the world’s highest data usage per smartphone at an average of 9.8GB per month, a new report by Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson said, adding this will double to 18GB by 2024, fuelled by rich video content.
North East Asia comes second with 7.1GB per month while West Asia and Africa region is the lowest at 3GB per month, the report for year 2018 said.
“Improved device penetration, affordable data tariff plans, and increase in data-intensive content such as videos are driving this growth in India," Nitin Bansal, head of Ericsson India and head of network solutions, South East Asia, Oceania and India, said at the launch of The Ericsson Mobility Report on Wednesday.
Triggered by Reliance Jio’s entry in September 2016, India’s data consumption has exploded, with all other operators also offering cheap data tariffs. Mobile data traffic is growing as more Indians spend time streaming videos, which is expected to account for 75% of overall mobile traffic by 2024.
The report predicts that total mobile data traffic per month will grow at a CAGR of 23% from 4.6 exabytes in 2018 to 16 exabytes in 2024. Smartphone user base in India will reach 1.1 billion by 2024, whereas mobile broadband subscriptions are expected to grow from about 610 million in 2018 to 1.25 billion in 2024.
Streaming 360-degree videos and augmented and virtual reality should be significant factors to aid mobile data growth and enhance the user experience with the roll-out of 5G, the report said.
Interestingly, the report also claims that Indian smartphone users are willing to pay more than 66% premium for futuristic 5G services.
“In fact, early adopters in India are willing to pay a premium of ₹320 over their average monthly spends for 5G services," Bansal said, adding that the report also found that more than half the smartphone users in India expect their own provider to switch to 5G or will wait a maximum of six months before moving to a provider that does.
The findings come at a time when the government is in the process of finalising a road-map for the roll-out of 5G services, the next-generation technology for wireless communications that is expected to improve data speeds and propel the Internet of Things.
The Digital Communications Commission, the highest decision-making body in the Department of Telecommunications last week asked the sector regulator to review within one month its recommendations for spectrum auctions, including reserve prices, providing relief to operators clamouring for lower spectrum prices and easier processes for 5G trials.
The 5G coverage is forecast to reach 45% of the world’s population by the end of 2024, the Ericsson report said, adding that its uptake is expected to be fastest in North America, with 63% of anticipated mobile subscriptions in the region being for 5G in 2024. North East Asia follows in second place (47%), and Europe in third (40%).