India has emerged as the second largest user of internet services in the world, according to the Indian Minister of Communication, Manoj Sinha.
At the end of 2016, the number of internet subscribers was 391.50 million making India globally the 2nd highest in terms of internet users, www.teleanalysis.com quotes the Minister as saying.
The Indian telecom market has seen a paradigm shift from a voice centric one to a data-centric market and is expected to be worth INR 6.6 trillion in the next three years ,he added.
While voice business still contributes a large chunk towards operator revenues, data revenues have shown an exponential growth trajectory over the last few years, Sinha said.
Mobile data traffic grew by 76 per cent in 2016, primarily due to the increased smart phone penetration.
This growing usage of smart phones, especially in urban areas, has increased the usage of internet on hand-held devices. In 2016, 559 megabytes of mobile data were generated per month by an average smart phone, up from 430 megabytes per month in 2015.
Consumption of video content is also forecast to be 75 percent of India’s mobile data traffic by 2021, compared to 49 percent in 2016.
Minister Sinha said that advancements in innovative IoT technologies, like health monitors, smart transport, smart meters among others, have been projected to result in 21 per cent increase in M2M services.
These advances will result in a significant growth of mobile data. As the telecom sector moves to newer technologies, TSPs will need to identify innovative avenues to monetize this data opportunity.
Sinha said that the Indian telecom market is expected to cross the Rs 6.6 trillion revenue mark by the year 2020.
The Minister said that Indian Government had launched the ‘Digital India’ initiative in July 2015 which had three broad targets – providing Digital Infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen, Governance and Services on Demand as well as Digital citizens’ empowerment.
One of the projects under the ‘Digital India’ initiative was ‘BharatNet’, launched to deploy high-speed optical fiber cables to connect 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats across the country by 2018.
This project would also help increase the fiberized sites in India which currently stands at less than 20 per cent as compared to other developed countries.
The project is being implemented in phases, with more than 100,000 gram panchayats connected under Phase-I as of July 2017. States like Kerala, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh neared 100 per cent completion.
(The featured picture at the top shows a volunteer of the Internet Saathi showing village women how to use the internet facility in their smart phones)
Source: Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka