In 2018, India witnessed data traffic growth of 109% with 4G technology constituting as much as 92% of this uptake, says a report. According to newly released Nokia’s annual Mobile Broadband India Traffic (MBiT) Index study, in India average data usage grew by 69% in 2018 to touch 10GB per user per month in December 2018.
The report attributes this growth to significant drop in data tariffs coupled with the availability of economical 4G devices led to the growth of the number of 4G subscribers by 137%. Also, the widespread migration of users from 3G to 4G devices contributed to the increase in the consumption of 4G data traffic in the country, said Nokia.
According to the report, Category B and C circles witnessed the highest increase in 4G traffic in 2018. This growth is led by the growing popularity of video streaming and video content in local languages on the various Over-The-Top (OTT) applications. The emergence of new media apps, like TikTok, has further led to an increase in video consumption. As the popularity of video streaming increases, the telcos will need to provide better coverage and capacity in the rural sector as well.
Not surprisingly, the 4G growth has come at the cost of 3G data traffic, which has recorded a marginal decrease in 2018. By the end of 2018, there were more than five times as many 4G subscribers as there are 3G subscribers, said Nokia.
“The surge in broadband consumption is likely to continue in the next few years since the current broadband penetration is just 45% in the country. Further, the growth will be fueled by 4G network expansions as telcos enhance the coverage and provide better network experience to the end consumer. Going forward, the service providers will need to expand the 4G network and evolve their network infrastructure to support 5G in near future,” said Sanjay Malik, Head of India Market, Nokia.