Internet penetration in India stood at an unimpressive 19.19% during 2014, however, the country already had the third-largest Internet user base and is expected to become the second largest this year.
Mobile First Nation
Going forward, Internet penetration in India is expected to pushed by growing use of smartphones. The country was home to 174 wired and wireless Internet connections at the end of 2013, but that number is expected to grow to 429 million by the end of 2017.
Further, while wireless made up 86% of all connections by the end of 2013, their share is expected to grow to 93.7% by the end of 2017. When it comes to the number of users, India had 302 million users by December 2014 and that number should swell to 503 million by end of 2017.
High-Speed Mobile Internet Is The Future
As of June 2014, India had 114 million, 67 million and 4 million 2G, 3G and 4G users respectively. While 2G makes up the largest chunk of wireless connections, going forward, 3G and 4G LTE are expected to drive Internet adoption in India.
The 2G user base will decline as users migrate to 3G networks, with the growth of 3G expected to grow at CAGR 61.3% from 2013-17. That would take the 3G user base in India from 82mn at the end of 2014 to 284mn by the end of 2017.
The 4G LTE LTE user base, on the other hand, is expected to grow at an annual growth rate of 344% and CAGR of 103% from 2013 to 2018.
While wireless teledensity reached 142.39% in urban areas, rural wireless teledensity stood at just 44.32% by September 2014. As off 2014, the number of active Internet users (AIU) in rural India was 61 million. The country’s rural population is 905 million meaning Internet penetration was just 6.7%.
While 3G and 4G is expected to power the growth of India’s Internet user base, 2G is expected to remain the primary technology in the years to come. Moreover, as off June 2014 50% of all AIU in rural India accessed the Internet via mobile device.
This report is based extracts from the “India on the Go: Mobile Internet Vision 2017” report from IAMAI & KPMG.