India sees 3G data boom in 2015


Multimedia and expanding device ecosystem will fuel mobile data traffic growth as India moves towards 4G LTE

Exponential growth of 3G data traffic across India has occurred in 2015. A new report from Nokia indicates how a growing device ecosystem and increased adoption of multimedia services will boost traffic further as 4G LTE networks are rolled out across the country.

According to the MBiT Index study, Nokia’s annual report on mobile broadband performance in India, overall mobile data traffic grew by 50% in 2015, with 3G traffic outpacing 2G across all circles for the first time. This was the result of a mature network, device and content ecosystem. 3G device penetration more than doubled during the year while new network launches and expansions in existing circles boosted data adoption beyond larger towns and cities.

Subscriber appetite is growing for multimedia services, with video and social networking now making up 60% of data traffic. Average monthly data usage for 3G surpassed 750 MB per subscriber and, with operators poised to launch 4G LTE networks, faster data speeds will fuel an even greater surge in traffic, echoing 4G LTE launches in other parts of the world where operators have traditionally seen data usage increase by up to four times, stated Nokia.

Sandeep Girotra, VP and head of India market, Nokia, said: “Aggressive 3G network expansion in existing circles and new launches by operators have been instrumental in increasing data traffic in India. 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. Moreover, 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.”

Key trends expected for Indian operators in 2016 also include that 2G still has the potential to drive internet adoption in Category B and C circles in the short to medium term.

The research showed that 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.

Meanwhile, the 4G LTE device ecosystem will continue to grow, with a decline in device prices, thus giving operators the opportunity to monetise quickly as they launch 4G LTE networks.


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