With increasing penetration of smartphones in India, mobile data use has seen a huge surge. As Mukesh Ambani quoted at Reliance Jio’s AGM, “data has become the new oil.” In fact, Jio’s entry in the telecom space has stirred a mobile data and tariff war among operators. Now, according to the latest stats released by True Balance, an app that was developed for checking balance and recharging, daily data usage among normal data pack users has doubled from 90MB in March to 180MB in August.
The report also reveals that sales of unlimited data packs for operators other than Jio has seen a tenfold jump. Also, users opting for unlimited data packs have increased six-fold in the past five months. Speaking of the new data analysis report, Mr. Charlie Lee, CEO, True Balance said “India’s data usage through smartphones is rapidly increasing. Although originally the data usage was high only in urban areas, in the future it will spread to rural and to the low-income bracket, making data usage universal.” ALSO READ: Time to take digital innovations at grassroot level: Reliance Jio
Breaking down the numbers
Average daily data consumption among normal pack users was 90MB in March. In April, there was a jump of 17 percent, with daily consumption rising to 105MB. The month of May saw a steady increase of 11 percent to 117MB per day, July saw daily consumption rising to 136MB, whereas August month saw the daily usage scaling to 180MB, which is double than what it was in March. ALSO READ: Reliance JioPhone users can return devices before 3 years and get Rs 500 back, but there’s a catch
A couple of years ago, a lot of people hesitated using mobile internet, especially considering the costs. However, now, right from school and college going kids to senior citizens, everyone is hooked onto the internet. It’s not only a means of communication, but also a source of entertainment. The rise in mobile data usage can be attributed to a number of factors. This includes an increase in usage of apps such as WhatsApp, Google Maps, Chrome for internet surfing, streaming videos on YouTube, Netflix and other services. ALSO READ: Here’s how the Indian consumer is drifting away from the idiot box, but is still a couch potato
The day and age of unlimited data packs
Reliance Jio disrupted the telecom space with unlimited high-speed data packs, giving users an access to content without worrying about data getting exhausted. But as data war strengthens, other operators aren’t far behind. Almost all mobile operators today offer data packs with ‘daily 1GB data.’ According to stats from True balance app, a number of users opting for unlimited data packs have risen six-fold since May. ALSO READ: Reliance JioPhone: How to connect the phone to any TV to stream content
Reliance Jio effect?
Jio’s entry did create initial turbulence among incumbent operators, but thanks to dual SIM smartphones, a lot of users use Jio connection only for mobile data. In fact, in the past six months, sales of unlimited data packs from mobile operators other than Reliance Jio has seen a 10-fold increase, reaching monthly increase rate of 167 percent, True balance report states. ALSO READ: Reliance JioPhone can be returned before 3 years for a refund, but there’s a catch
So, even as Jio continues to break records by adding millions of subscribers every quarter, the data shows that users are willing to stay with their operator when offered a similar unlimited data pack. This is despite Jio offering interesting offers on recharges with an extended validity of up to 89 days. ALSO READ: Reliance Jio effect: Airtel offers 4GB data per day at Rs 999; here’s how to get it
Now that data has become affordable for everyone, it is time mobile operators need to look into improving the quality of service, which includes better network coverage to reduce call drops, improve voice quality and offer stable internet speeds.