With daily mobile data limits of up to 4GB per day at highly affordable prices of less than $5 per month, India is one of the biggest consumers of mobile internet data. As per the latest Ericsson Mobility Report, the average traffic per smartphone user in India has increased from 13GB per month in 2019 to 14.6GB per month in 2020.
On an average, mobile operators in India offer 2GB to 3GB per day data for 28 days translating to 56GB to 84GB mobile internet data per month with their existing data plans. This means most users are unable to exhaust the entire mobile data limit on a daily basis.
“The average traffic per smartphone in the India region stands second highest globally and is projected to grow to around 40GB per month in 2026,” as per the report by Ericsson.
Ericsson estimates that 5G will represent around 26% of mobile subscriptions in India at the end of 2026, estimated at about 330 million subscriptions. 4G will continue to be dominant, representing 66% of mobile subscriptions in 2026, with 3G being phased out by that time.
“In the India region, 4G subscriptions are forecast to rise from 680 million in 2020 to 830 million in 2026, increasing at a CAGR of 3%,” it added.
In 2020, 4G remained the dominant technology, accounting for 61% of mobile subscriptions.
The report said that the number of smartphone subscriptions was 810 million in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7%, reaching over 1.2 billion by 2026. Smartphone subscriptions accounted for 72% of total mobile subscriptions in 2020 and are projected to constitute over 98% in 2026, driven by rapid smartphone adoption in the country.
“ COVID-19 has accelerated India’s digital transformation as more and more consumers rely on digital services – be it digital payments, remote health consultations, online retail or video conferencing – to fulfil their business or personal needs. Accordingly, the average monthly mobile data usage per smartphone continues to show robust growth, boosted by people increasing their smartphone usage while staying at home,” said Nitin Bansal, Head of Ericsson India and Head of Network Solutions for South east Asia , Oceania and India , Ericsson.
Total mobile data traffic in India has grown from 6.9 exabyte (EB)/month to 9.5EB/month in 2020 and is projected to increase by more than four times to reach 41EB/month in 2026. For those unaware, 1EB equals 1000 Petabyte or 10 lakh GB.
“According to Ericsson’s ConsumerLab study – Five Ways to a Better 5G, at least 40 million smartphone users in India could take up 5G in first year of 5G being made available with consumers even willing to pay 50 percent more for 5G plans with bundled digital services, compared to just 10 percent premium for 5G connectivity. In fact, India has the biggest rise in intention to upgrade with 67% of users expressing an intention to take up 5G once it is available, an increase of 14 percentage points over 2019,” it added.