India: Digital Market Overview

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India- Mobile web to overtake fixed line this year

The use of the mobile Web is set to overtake fixed-line Internet in India by the end of the year, as the country’s mobile revolution continues at full speed, according to new data. Statistics from statcounter indicate that India’s mobile Web usage is just under 50% as of the second quarter of 2012. Meanwhile, wired access is steeply falling.

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The data suggests that, with PC usage just a few percent points ahead, the lines will cross and access from mobile will overtake the PC before the end of the year.

India’s mobile Web usage has grown strongly to account for just under 50 percent, as March-April, that’s up from just 2 percent in January 2009 and 18 percent in January 2011.

Technology and financial news blog Trak.in, which first reported the findings, has observed that the trend is interesting, because the rest of the world is likewise seeing a rise in mobile access and a fall in wired access, but not as steeply as in India.

One of the contributing factors to the country’s steep rise in mobile use ahead of the global curve is that the cost of laying out broadband infrastructure in the rural areas has become prohibitive.

As such, mobile access has become the preferred mode of going online in emerging markets. “4G offers the potential to increase Internet access and provide a better, faster user experience, once more compatible handsets are active in the market.”

The same trend can likewise be seen in other countries, like China, where 38% of users access the Internet through mobile devices.

Given the rise in smartphone sales worldwide, this is a trend that telecommunication companies and other stakeholders should consider when setting up online apps and services.

The good news for India is that, following relatively late introduction of 3G in 2010, the 4G roll out has begun after Airtel introduced its service last month.

Although limited to dongles and the city of Kolkota initially, the service will bring about “fundamental change” nationwide, according to Airtel CEO Sanjay Kapoor.

4G offers the potential to increase Internet access and provide a better, faster user experience, once more compatible handsets are active in the market.

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