India's Mobile data traffic consumption grows by 54 percent in first half of 2012

As per the data reviled by Nokia Siemens Networks collected in its MBit Index, there has been 54% increase in mobile data traffic in India between the time period of December 2011 and June 2012. Another interesting finding from the report is that 3G users consume four times more mobile data than 2G users. At this pace, Nokia Siemens Networks expects India’s mobile data consumption to double by June 2013.

The MBit Index report aggregates primary data real traffic across all the 2G (GSM and EDGE) and 3G networks managed by Nokia Siemens Networks for operators in India. The company manages around 30% of the total 2G and 3G networks in India which provide services to about 300 million subscribers. India’s top telecom providers Bhati Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular has a partnership with Nokia Siemens Networks to manage their 2G, 3G and 4G networks in India.

Pan India level Mobile broadband trends
Pan India level Mobile broadband trends

The report further reveals that data traffic generated by 3G services has increased by 78% while that of 2G services has increased by 47% during the same period. A first time 3G user consumes close to 400 MB (megabytes) of data every month compared to about 100 MB consumption over 2G. 2G ( GPRS/EDGE) data still accounts for 3/4th of the total mobile data traffic in India and still continue to play a pivotal role in providing basic mobile internet in India. Web browsing contributes 81% of 2G data traffic while downloading videos constitutes 17%. The report also indicates a steady growth of 4% in multimedia content traffic over 2G networks across the country from December 2011 to June 2012.

2G and 3G mobile data usage
2G and 3G mobile data usage

Our report highlights India’s enormous appetite for consuming data services on the go and hence the need to provide high quality mobile broadband services to satisfy users. 2G has been relatively successful in driving mobile broadband use in India, but we are now witnessing 3G pushing the mobile broadband use to unprecedented levels. While it’s important that 2G networks need to be constantly strengthened across the country, 3G network coverage, especially in residential areas, needs to be enhanced. In addition, further improving the quality of data services and fulfilling expectations of various user segments are vital to acquiring, satisfying and retaining mobile broadband customers.” said Sandeep Girotra, head of India region at Nokia Siemens Networks

Other facts from the report:

  • Total 2G and 3G mobile data has grown by 54% over past 7 months indicating that mobile data is doubling every 12-14 months in India.
  • With 78% growth in 3G vs 47% growth in 2G over the last 7 months, 3G has outpaced 2G in data traffic growth despite only 6% 3G device penetration and 1/10th of 2G coverage. Although 2G accounts for 3/4th of total mobile data, 3G’s share has grown steadily from 20% to 25%.
  • On average, each 3G users consumes 4 times more data than each 2G users, indicating 3G as an acceptable alternative for broadband in terms of speed and experience.
  • From Dec 2011 to May 2012, 3G traffic grew by 7% month on month, however from May 2012 to June 2012, 3G traffic grew by 17%, a spike in traffic mainly due to 3G data tariff cuts by telecom operators.
  • Contrary to general perception, mobile data is growing the fastest in Category B and C telecom circles, indicating their extreme need for broadband amid dearth of fixed broadband. Improved speeds on EDGE and 2G/3G dongles are driving this data growth.

Read the complete report on mobile data traffic in India here.

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