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3G usage in India overtook 2G for first time in all circles: Report

Mobile tower

A study compiled by Nokia claims that in 2015, 3G usage cross grew 85% year-on-year, following 3G expansion and increased device availability in the country. The MBiT Index study points out that monthly 3G data usage per user passed 750 MB, outpacing 2G usage for the first time across all circles. However, the report claims that 2G still has the potential to drive internet adoption in Category B and C circles in the short to medium term.

According to the Nokia report, overall mobile data traffic grew by 50% in 2015 led by a two-fold increase in 3G device penetration across India, with 1 in every 3 devices in India being 3G enabled. The increased 3G device penetration boosted data adoption in both metro locations as well as in larger towns and cities. However, the overall surge in mobile traffic is mostly attributed to multimedia services, with video and social networking making up 60% of data traffic in 2015.


Huge potential for 4G LTE: The study further states that with an increase in the number of digital content services in India, 4G LTE device ecosystem grew over eight-fold in 2015, setting stage for further data traffic growth in 2016. The report says operators could look into offering high-speed mobile internet through Dual Channel HSPA (DC-HSPA), as a short-term substitute for 4G LTE. DC-HSPA uses two cells in parallel to transmit High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) data to mobile devices at doubled downlink rates, peaking up to 42 Mbps.

Similar developments:

-In February, Vodafone said that it has 25.9 million 3G Internet connections for the quarter ended December 31, 2015, registering a 56% growth since the same period last year.

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-In January, Airtel said that more than 51% of data connection came from 3G. It reported a total of 28.09 million 3G Mobile Internet connections for Q3 FY16, registering a 65.84% from 16.94 million 3G Mobile Internet connections in the same quarter last year.

-In the same month RCOM’s 3G connection base stood at 23.1 million,a accounting for 59.53 % of all data connections in Q3 FY16. 3G connections were up 20.94% quarter-on-quarter and up 38.32% year-on-year for RCOM during Q3 FY16

TRAI’s reserve prices are too high: The situation seems to be grim as brokerage firm Credit Suisse (CS) estimates that the government’s $25 billion spectrum sale from the upcoming auctions (2016) could see only partial success and could hurt some telecom companies in the market. CS explains that TRAI’s recommended price of Rs 11,485 for 700 MHz spectrum, which is crucial to 4G LTE adoption, is set at a 25% higher rate than its previous estimates . It says that this could be a negative surprise to some players in the market, as all spectrum bands, including the crucial 2100 Mhz and 700Mhz band are expected to be sold at a whopping $80 billion.

Image credit: Flickr user hopeless128 under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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