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Mobile internet use grows in India

News, 30 April 2015

NEW DELHI: Mobile internet use in India is increasing as more users from lower socio-economic groupings go online and as older consumers come to see value in mobile according to a new report.

The findings contained in The Changing Mobile Broadband Landscape, from Ericsson's ConsumerLab, were based on 4,500 face-to-face interviews with smartphone mobile internet users in ten cities and towns, a sample the ICT business estimated represented 127m smartphone users in urban India.

As smartphone prices have fallen over the past two years, the option of using the mobile internet has become possible for many more people. The report indicated that the proportion of users who came from an urban, less educated and low income background had risen from 38% in 2013 to 45% today.

At the same time the age profile of mobile internet users has changed, with more older users coming on board. The proportion of over-50s, for example, has quadrupled from 1% in 2013 to 4% in 2015, while the 31-40 age group has seen a near threefold jump to almost 30% in the same period.

The report suggested the oldest users were driven by a desire to be connected with loved ones in different parts of the country and the world, particularly through emails, chat applications and instant messaging.

"The internet is finally coming of age and is empowering cross-sections of Indian society," said Ajay Gupta, vp/head of strategy and marketing, Ericsson India.

And while social networking and instant messaging remained the most-used services on smartphones, he saw usage of banking, e-commerce, navigation and cloud storage apps and services all increasing.

Convenience and improved experience has made m-commerce services increasingly attractive. For example, among those users not currently using e-commerce services, 58% intended to start doing so in the next six months, while 52% said they were going to pay bills online.

But they may be frustrated by the connection quality and reliability problems reported by around two thirds of those surveyed.

Among those who were not using mobile broadband, affordability and digital literacy appeared the main obstacles to adoption: 88% of those on 2G felt mobile broadband was too expensive, while 53% said mobile broadband added no value.

Data sourced from Ericsson ConsumerLab; additional content by Warc staff