Data Consumption in India Grew 31 Percent in 2021: Nokia


India’s data usage has grown at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 53 percent over the last five years between 2017–2021, according to a report released by telecom giant Nokia on Tuesday. The country also saw growth of its mobile broadband subscribers to more than double in the last five years. The Finnish company stated that 4G played an important role in the growth of the country’s mobile broadband ecosystem, with 4G data seeing an increase of 31 percent in 2021.

In its annual Mobile Broadband Index (MBiT) report, Nokia said that average monthly mobile data consumption in India reached 17GB per user in 2021. This shows a year-on-year (YoY) increase of 26.6 percent in the average monthly data traffic per user in the year.

The data-filled 12-page report further said that more than 40 million new subscribers were added to the existing 4G user base or upgraded to 4G services in the year. This has brought the country to a base of 742 million 4G data subscribers in total.

Nokia report revealed that 4G data traffic contributed 99 percent across all circle categories, with per month 4G data traffic reaching 12,640 petabytes.

The significant growth in 4G data consumption came alongside the increase in the number of 4G devices in the country.

Nokia said India recorded its highest-ever shipment of more than 160 million smartphones in 2021 where 4G devices crossed 80 percent shipments. The country is also said to have 649 million unique devices with 4G connectivity, with 93.1 percent of them including VoLTE support.

In addition to 4G devices, 5G phones also reached the milestone of 30 million shipments in the year. The number of active 5G capable devices crossed 10 million shipments, according to the report.

With the growing demand for high-speed data connectivity, the report forecasts that 5G subscriber base in India will reach 369 million in 2026. Revenue from 5G services is also expected to grow at a CAGR of 164 percent in five years.

India is also forecasted to have a mobile broadband penetration of around 80 percent, with average usage of 40GB.

On the content front, the short video segment was consumed by 40 percent of smartphone users in the country. It is expected to increase to 60–75 percent of the smartphone user base by 2025.

Indian Gen Z spends an average of eight hours per day online, the report said. It also pointed out that around 40 percent of consumers’ time spent in the country has so far been on regional videos. As much as 90 percent of the Internet user base in the country also prefer to consume content in their local language, Nokia said.

“The upcoming 5G spectrum auction and the commercial launch of services later this year will help India bridge the digital divide and enable service providers to provide new and exciting use cases like Industry 4.0 and smart cities to fuel the digital economy,” said Sanjay Malik, SVP & Head of India Market, at Nokia, in a press statement.


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