Connected: India's Ride on the Internet Bandwagon

Date:   Monday , November 21, 2016

Tata Teleservices is one of leading mobile telecommunications service providers in India delivering mobile connectivity, content and services to consumers across the country. Redefining the telecom experience in India, the entity has launched technologically advanced innovative products & services which is simplifying consumer lives and expanding digital inclusion.

Imagine a day without the internet; not only does it seem difficult, but actually quite dire, coupled with the much overriding Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). We\'ve come a long way, considering mobile networks carried fewer than 10 gigabytes per month in 2000, and less than one petabyte per month in 2005. It is safe to say that today, India is currently riding the internet bandwagon ,and is ahead of most countries.

With the recent splurge in digitization, including the sudden outbreak of smartphones and tablets, the role of the internet has traversed from being an enabler to actually becoming our lives. Gone are the days when the \'Internet\' was a thing of the more qualified and the richer families who owned a computer. Thanks to affordability, accessibility and a variety of devices, every individual, irrespective of age and socio-economic background, now owns a smartphone.

Being \'connected\' is one the key drivers of the revolution that began with the invasion of social networking sites. This has further evolved into a whole dominion of e-Commerce sites, and the growing trend of online shopping that is currently contributing to enormous amounts of internet data. Against this backdrop, following are some of the trends and focus areas of how mobile data consumption is making India \'connected\', and how this plays a beneficial role for certain business verticals such as e-Commerce:

Future of the \'Connected\' Junta

The usage of smartphones has increased, and a large contribution is by the millennial group. They largely use the internet on their phones, and have been coined as the front runners of the World Wide Web. A recent report by Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development shows that India has overtaken the U.S. to become the world\'s second largest internet market with 333 million users, trailing China\'s 721 million. With the Internet users doubling by 2020, fueled by millennials, data consumption is also increasing. This explains why the usage of data has increased by 85 percent last year and why we will further see an increase with time.

While the advancement is more or less uniform across the urban population of the country, the rural sector seems to be growing at a significant pace as well. By 2020, rural India is predicted to be home to most of country\'s Internet users, with majority being mobile first. 75-80 percent of Internet user growth will come from rural India.

The future of the \'connected\' junta will evolve, especially with initiatives such as Digital India picking up pace. Concepts such as smart cities are already being developed, and we are looking at further developments such as digital passport verification, or even digital driving licenses. Services such as Karnataka Mobile One Launch (one of India\'s first e-governance services) have already started to drive the movement towards building the \'connected\' junta. Similar services will be developed and implemented in the near future; different verticals in the country, including transport, healthcare, and even entertainment, will soon all become digitally available through mobile apps. This will further connect people, making services readily available. This increment in digital services will enable the use of 4G to expand beyond urban areas, and soon mobile data will become affordable and easily accessible to all parts of India, including rural India. This is what will drive \'connected\' junta, easy and affordable access to digital services for everyone in the country.

Enabling the Next Era of Growth for Businesses

The Indian Government\'s Digital India campaign and several other trends like reading e-books, listening to music online, watching visuals online, playing online, teaching online, selling online and even booking tickets online, will get a country whose Internet user base is the fastest growing.

The increase in usage of Internet via mobile data will help fuel this growth. Many businesses, governments and companies are moving certain methods and procedures to mobile applications. In fact, some of the examples mentioned above, such as booking tickets online, are also available on mobile applications. Moving to a mobile platform helps business growth as people are always mobile these days. The idea of portability and immediacy, especially by the millennial group, is a major advantage for the consumer.

Knowing What the Consumer Wants

Over the years, it has become evident that the power of mobiles is leapfrogging with the progression of technology and communication. Wider appreciation of the social impact of mobile devices in the country has galvanized a true revolution, leaving much scope for service providers to overhaul and modernize their offerings. Nevertheless, it has turned out to be challenging of sorts for service providers who have to constantly design products and value added services: keeping in mind the market enablers, changing consumer and industry trends, usage patterns, and each customer\'s unique requirement.

We at Tata Docomo understand the shift in trends and the need to innovate and improvise to suit these developments. We have witnessed a hike in subscribers in all the states and have enhanced our product portfolio and VAS with customized. As part our larger rural expansion strategy, with a special focus on the South market, we launched 3G services in 43 new towns of Karnataka and further plan to add 1000 cell sites across Karnataka.

While internet in India took more than a decade to move from 10 million to 100 million, and three years from 100 to 200 million, it took only a year to move from 300 to 400 million users. The fast growing pace of internet users is a clear sign that the internet is here to stay in India. Over the next five years, as smartphone adoption climbs, backed by the power of e-Commerce and mobile applications, Internet users could double again to more than 600 million, nearly half its population. In such a scenario, there lies much scope for service providers to reform offerings, whereas their urge and ability to do so will contribute immensely in deciding the impending Digital India.