- 85 per cent year-on-year 3G traffic growth in 2015
- Average monthly 3G data usage per user now 750MB
- LTE device ecosystem grew over eight-fold in 2015
Nokia has published the latest edition of its MBiT Index study, which shows mobile broadband performance in India. The study found that overall mobile data traffic grew by 50 per cent in 2015, with 3G traffic outpacing 2G across all circles (the 23 separate service areas in the country) for the first time – a result of a mature network, device and content ecosystem. 3G data traffic throughout India increased by 85 per cent year-on-year in 2015, while 3G device penetration more than doubled during the year.
"Aggressive 3G network expansion in existing circles and new launches by operators have been instrumental in increasing data traffic in India,” said Sandeep Girotra, VP and Head of India Market, Nokia. “It is expected that this data traffic growth will be boosted in coming years by the auction of additional spectrum, an increase in smartphone penetration and the development of the content ecosystem.”
The study also reveals that subscriber appetite is growing for multimedia services, with video and social networking now making up 60 per cent of data traffic. Average monthly data usage for 3G surpassed 750MB per subscriber – although Nokia believes India could follow other countries where the introduction of LTE has led to a fourfold increase in data usage.
However, it’s still very much early days for 4G in India. LTE is expected to have nationwide coverage in India by the end of 2016 with new and incumbent operators providing LTE coverage in all critical markets.
“The rapid evolution of the device ecosystem, supported by a decline in prices, presents significant growth opportunities for operators as they launch and expand 4G LTE networks in coming years," added Girotra.
Meanwhile, there’s still plenty of life left in GSM, with the study suggesting that 2G still has the potential to drive internet adoption in Category B and C circles in the short to medium term. Also, with evolving device support for 3G carrier aggregation, operators could potentially offer DC-HSPA as a substitute for 4G LTE in some circles in the short term.
Stay up to date with the latest industry developments: sign up to receive TelecomTV's top news and videos plus exclusive subscriber-only content direct to your inbox – including our daily news briefing and weekly wrap.