Do you know that number of mobile phone users in India are more than 65% of total population now, and what more is the fact that this figure is still increasing to new heights at 20 million new subscribers per month! Each month millions of new users are added and a chunk of them use internet on their mobile phones.
Expert also believe that in not so distant future number of internet users will exceed number of PC internet users. Well I would say that personally I am practically optimistic about this fact. And if it happens (that number of mobile internet users exceed PC internet users), it will open a pandora of new opportunities for all of us.
So it is very important for us to know about mobile internet usage in India. And in this article we are going to get some insights on this topic. So without moving any further lets get into the nuances of mobile internet usage in India.
Number of Mobile Internet Users in India
India with its 35+ million mobile internet users ranks No.2 in the world. And according to Google around 14 billion webpages were viewed by Indian mobile internet users in February 2010. I think these figures themselves speak volumes of of the growing mobile internet users in India.
According to Google’s India product head, Vinay Goel, the number of mobile internet users has grown nearly five times in the last five years. And now have a look at some of interesting web usage scenario of Indian users.
If you think that these figures have shown you all, then you are wrong, because it is just a tip of iceberg. According to industry estimates total internet penetration in India is about 7%-8% and out of that merely 4-5% internet is accessed through mobiles.
According to a research by Nokia Indian mobile internet users are not actually using internet, they are merely tasting it. [Link]
And certainly that is not by any measures a disappointing figure, because it simply means that “Mobile Internet” field is still to be explored a lot so there are immense opportunities in this segment.
Here is an interesting graph showing what people actually do on internet, while accessing it from their mobiles :-
Mobile Internet Usage all set to FLY
As already discussed that although India stands No 2 in the world when it comes to mobile internet usage, but total penetration is still mere 4-5%. But having said this one can’t deny from the fact that mobile internet usage in India is all set to fly and there are many reasons to support this notion :-
- Low cost 3G Mobiles: Ever since the introduction of 3G in India, all major mobile manufacturing companies across the globe, virtually went on a price war, particularly in 3G enabled mobile segment and the good news is that the war is still on. This highly competitive market puts a customer like us in a win win situation and rightly so many more mobile users are now shifting towards using 3G enabled mobiles to access internet. Here is a short list of 3G enabled mobiles with price less than Rs.5000.
- Samsung C5010 Squash : Rs. 3,500
- Samsung C3212 Dual Sim Active : Rs. 3,600
- Samsung C5130 : Rs. 3,900
- INQ Mini 3G : Rs. 4,000
- Nokia 2730 Classic : Rs. 4,100
- Spice G6500 : Rs. 4,300
- Nokia C2 01 : Rs. 4,500
- LG GU285 : Rs. 4,600
- Cheap 3G Plans: As 3G mobiles are going cheaper day by day, so is the services and the reason is same. In this segment too all the major service providers namely Airtel, Idea, Tata Docomo, Reliance are at a price war. Each and every service provider is trying to woo its customer by competitive prices. Here is the list of 3G plans of some major service providers in India :-
- Rise in mobile supported web services: Not so long ago websites were not being designed for mobiles and so viewing and using those websites on mobiles was a tedious task. But now when mobile internet usage has increased manifold, not just in India but also round the globe, web designers have now started to design specially for mobiles. Almost every major web site like Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, Gmail etc got their mobile versions ready, so that a mobile internet users are able to access them easily. And not only that major CMS like WordPress, Blogger etc also came out (and still are) with numerous plugins to make them mobile friendly.
- Rapid Technical Developments in mobiles: Technology in mobiles is developing very fast, particularly in the present times. Almost in every 1-2 months there is a new technology knocking at the door ready to give customers a completely new experience. Mobile internet users in India got doubled last year when Blackberry QWERTY mobile clones were introduced in the market. So we can see why this is also one of the major reasons mobile internet usage is all set to fly!!
An interesting research done on mobile internet users in India reveal that more people are now shifting from PC to their mobiles for accessing internet, have a look at this :-
Speed of Mobile Internet
With introduction of 3G one can now access broadband like internet speeds through mobiles. And when it comes to mobile internet, speed does matter a lot. High mobile internet speeds attract a lot of users. Well thanks to research engineers who are working day in and day out to provide us with high mobile internet speeds and to provide us with high speed mobiles from which we can access fast mobile internet. Here is a small list of 3G mobile internet speeds of various major service providers in India.
- Airtel : Down-1.17Mbps Up-0.06Mbps
- Tata Docomo: Down-3.21Mbps Up-1.5Mbps
- Aircel:Down-2.24Mbps Up-0.82Mbps
- B.S.N.L:Down-1.25Mbps Up-0.06Mbps
- Reliance:Down-3.69Mbps Up-0.24Mbps
- Idea:Down-2.92Mbps Up-0.06Mbps
Please note that mobile internet speed varies with many factors like Handset, Distance from tower, Signal strength, your area etc. So it is not necessary that you will also get the same speeds. All the speed test were done on SpeedTest.net
Available Mobile Web Browsers
Apart from the reasons listed above, availability of mobile web browsers with rich features also plays a significant role in increasing mobile internet usage in India. Now a days mobile web browsers come with features like Multiple Tabbing, Zoom In etc just like any other PC web browsers.
When it comes to talking of mobile web browsers, Opera Mini is the market leader with 34% share. Although there are many other mobile web browsers available and here is a comparision chart showing usage of each.
I believe that experts claiming that mobile internet usage in India will touch 250+ million by 2015 would certainly become a reality. However its still too early to comment on this but by looking at all the figures above, my notion only gets stronger. Whats your say??