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There has been a 54% increase in mobile data traffic in India between December 2011 and June 2012. According to Nokia Siemens Networks’ MBit Index report, data traffic generated by 3G services has increased by 78% while that of 2G services has increased by 47% during the same period. 

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While 2G users are consuming three-quarters of the total mobile data traffic, on average, 3G users consume four times more data than 2G users. At this pace, mobile data consumption is expected to double by 2013. The report aggregates primary data – real traffic – across all the 2G (GSM and EDGE) and 3G multi vendor networks managed by the vendor for operators in India.


“The report highlights India’s appetite for consuming data services on the go,” says SandeepGirotra, head of India region at Nokia Siemens Networks. “2G has been relatively successful in driving mobile broadband use in India, but we are now witnessing 3G pushing the mobile broadband use to unprecedented levels.” While it’s important that 2G networks need to be constantly strengthened across the country, 3G network coverage, especially in residential areas, needs to be enhanced. In addition, further improving the quality of data services and fulfilling expectations of various user segments are vital to acquiring and retaining mobile broadband customers.

Furthermore, despite low 3G device penetration, by the end of June 2012, 3G has outpaced 2G in terms of data traffic growth. As 2G networks have contributed 75% of the total data traffic generated, it is expected that 2G will continue to play a pivotal role in providing basic mobile internet in India. Therefore, 2G is likely to remain a focus area for operators. However, with 3G data now generating 25% of the country’s total mobile data traffic, 3G is likely to be the driver for continued high data growth in the country.

A first time 3G user consumes close to 400 MB (megabytes) of data every month compared to about 100MB consumption over 2G. Recent tariff reductions in 3G services have resulted in doubling 3G data traffic month on month. Web browsing contributes 81% of 2G data traffic while downloading videos constitutes 17%. There was a steady growth of 4% in multimedia content traffic over 2G networks across the country from December 2011 to June 2012. With some web enabled phones costing less than US $80, more Indian subscribers are able to connect.

 

Google predicts that by 2013 the boom in wireless Internet subscribers in the country is likely to reach 300 million. The difficulty in deploying next generation fibre optic networks in densely populated areas has resulted in massive growth opportunities for wireless operators. With increasing demand for both voice and data services placing unprecedented demand on legacy 2G networks, operators will be looking at 4G services to scale to meet demand. Ultimately, migrating 2G voice services will be the biggest challenge facing operators in India, once standards for 4G voice have been established.   


The 3G data use is rising in metro telecom circles while 2G use is stabilizing. Category A and B telecom circles together contribute 72% of mobile data traffic due to improved Internet speed on 2G networks and the availability of 2G and 3G dongles at affordable prices. Category B circles have witnessed the strongest demand for 3G services with a growth rate of more than 87% between December 2011 and June 2012.

-----Nokia Siemens Networks

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