NEW DELHI: The number of mobile internet users in India is expected to grow by 40m in the first six months of the year to reach a total of 213m by June according to a new study.

The Mobile Internet in India 2014 report, from the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB International, highlighted the rapid growth of the sector, with the number of users increasing by 26% in the second half of 2014 and a forecast 23% in the first half of 2015.

Over the first period, the number of rural users rose by 25% to 45m but this rate of growth is expected to ease to 18%, taking the total to 53m.

No such slowdown is evident in urban India, however, where numbers will continue to increase at around 25% to reach 160m by June 2015.

Not only is the overall number of users growing, so too are the amounts they are spending.

According to the report, the average monthly mobile bill has increased by 13% to Rs. 439, but the average monthly spend on the mobile internet has risen faster, by 36% to Rs. 235.

As a result, the proportion of the bill going on the mobile internet has increased from 45% in 2013 to 54% in 2014.

More than half of mobile internet users spend more than Rs 100 but less than Rs 500 on mobile internet services, while nearly 30% spend more than Rs 500.

A variety of plans are available to users, with the single largest segment being rental plans with limited downloads, to which 33% of users subscribe. This is followed by rental plans with unlimited downloads (21%)

A zero rental option, which entails paying for each download, was favoured by 17%, while pay-per-day was the preferred option for 15% and pay-per-site for 14%.

Nearly one quarter of school-going children and one fifth of non-working women use mobile internet on pay-per-site basis. Nearly 40% of young men, working women and older men have plans which entail limited internet access.

Data sourced from IAMAI; additional content by Warc staff