MUMBAI: The spread of 4G telecoms services across India is transforming all areas of work and leisure and how people consume content and shop, a new report has said.

Mogae Media, a provider of mobile marketing services, surveyed 8,144 4G users across India and was surprised to discover that 30% of current 4G users were to be found in rural India – typically rich farmers and rural industrialists.

More than a third of 4G users were in the major metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, while 23% were from Tier 2 cities, Exchange4Media reported.

The geographical spread has been accompanied by a degree of technology leapfrogging, as 21% of those migrating to 4G were 2G users who have bypassed 3G altogether.

Common to all was the growing volume of data consumed as users make full use of the faster connectivity on offer to, for example, view video – an activity that has doubled among new switchers to 4G.

The appetite for data is huge – separately, Google has reported that people are consuming ten times more data than they otherwise would because of the free wifi it has installed at 73 railway stations (it aims to increase that to 300 next year).

While most of the early adopters are young men (73%), Mogae Media found that women consumed more data on an average (1,377 MB compared to 1,063 MB for men).

Clearly, 4G users tend to be wealthier consumers: most of the data users in the Rs 500-Rs 1,000 ARPU band were 4G users.

And most (72%) conduct financial transactions on their phones, the study revealed, while shopping (40%) and ordering food (39%) were also popular activities.

"4G users occupy important positions in the Indian spending ecosystem, making them crucial to any brand," said Sandeep Goyal, chairman of Mogae Media. "They are spending more, consuming more and have embraced technology to make life easier".

That embrace, he added, means they spend a large part of their lives on their smartphones– "which makes digital advertising important to how this group perceives brands and their value".

"This group is always connected and expects a seamless experience across devices," said Goyal. "They have the world at their fingertips and no brand can afford to ignore them."

Data sourced from Exchange4Media, Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by Warc staff