NSN LogoMobile data usage in India has increased by 87% according to Nokia Solutions and Networks’ MBit Index (pdf), an annual report on mobile broadband performance in India. According to the study, 3G data traffic increased by 146%, surpassing the world average and 2G data traffic continued to stabilize, growing by 59% over the same period.

Methodology: Nokia Siemens Network stated that the report was  based on Nokia Solutions and Networks’ analysis of data obtained from various (undisclosed) sources. It analyses mobile broadband traffic trends only at a consolidated level and does not intend to provide any comparative analysis of data growth of different operators. Note that NSN provides network management services to telecom operators in India. More on the methodology from our last NSN report.

Highlights from the report

– Total mobile data increased by 87% from Jan 2013 to Dec 2013. 3G continues to be the prime contributor in the data growth, growing its share from 33% in 2012 to 43% of total mobile data in 2013.


– The active 3G subscriber base grew by 50% y-o-y in 2013.

3G represented 43% of total mobile data in 2013 as against 33% in 2012. 2G growth rate and its share in total mobile data further stabilized due to reduced premium on 3G services and higher smart phone penetration leading to migration of high-end 2G customers to 3G.

– 3G users continue to consume more data on average than 2G users. In December 2013, a 3G user consumed 532 megabyte of data compared to 146 megabyte consumption over 2G. In some of the major urban centers the average data consumption per user is as high as one gigabyte per month, indicating the rising popularity and uptake of 3G across India.

– 2G grew by 59% in 2013 compared to 66% in 2012 and now represents 57% of total data as against 66% at the end of 2012.

Circle-wise stats

– Category A cities drove 47% of all mobile data in the country, where 3G mobile data consumption grew by a record of 185% in 2013.

– In Category B cities, 3G data payload surpassed that of metros with 3G now accounting for 31% of the total traffic. Both categories indicate a big demand of high-speed services, giving operators a huge opportunity to offer superior connectivity to their customers.

– Further research in ‘Top 50’ cities  in all category circles reveals that 3G coverage in India is still limited and requires focused investments to achieve the data performance users demand.