Indians are consuming more mobile data than ever. Part of that is the natural evolution in the smartphone demographic, and part of it was triggered by the launch of Reliance Jio a year ago. Reduced data prices dramatically across the board has spurred consumption. Consulting firm Deloitte estimates that India’s mobile data usage will grow to 1608 PB by 2020. 1 PB (or petabyte) amounts to 1,000 TB (terabyte) or 1 million GB (gigabyte). By that period, the country’s smartphone penetration will also increase to 58 percent, said Deloitte at a webinar. Also Read - Let our firms take part in 5G trials, China tells IndiaAlso Read - DoT permits telecom service providers to go ahead with 5G trials
Currently, about 30 percent of our mobile phone users are on smartphones, and the rest use feature phones making India the world’s only market where feature phones continue to grow. By 2017-end, mobile data consumption would touch 391 PB and by 2018, it will hit 642 PB. As smartphones outnumber feature phones, mobile data usage is estimated to cross the 1,000-PB mark and reach 1,099 PB by 2019. Data will form the core of telco revenues then. “Going forward we will have 60 percent revenue coming from data and 40 percent from voice,” Abhishek V, partner – consulting at Deloitte, stated. ALSO READ: JioFi continues dominance over data card market, gains 91% share in Q2: CyberMedia
As of June 2017, 57 percent of the data consumption was happening on smartphones, 26 percent via feature phones, 10 percent from fixed wireless devices, 5 percent on tablets and 2 percent through dongles. Deloitte believes that the JioPhone, which recorded 6 million bookings at the outset, is going to disrupt the market further, and shoot up data usage on 4G-enabled feature phones. “With Jio launching its smartphone for INR 1500 and free 4G data, this is likely to disrupt the market and increase pressure on other operators,” Deloitte observed. Jio has already brought about a 48 percent drop in mobile data tariffs in India in just a year, as the 2017 Mary Meeker Report indicated. ALSO READ: How Reliance Jio slashed mobile data tariffs in India by half: Mary Meeker Report
4G data, of course, is witnessing the fastest growth right now and is estimated to have a subscriber base of 1.15 billion by 2022. Though 3G is more widespread, particularly in rural areas, its usage would be topped by 4G as data becomes more inexpensive across the spectrum. Eventually, 4G data will be offered at all price points for wider choice to consumers. Jio has already announced weekly data packs for JioPhone customers, such that they wouldn’t have to commit to a larger data plan without sampling the offering first. Meanwhile, 5G is on the way too and TRAI is believed to have started consultations on spectrum sale already.
We’re in for a data explosion, or as they say these days: “Data is the new oil.”