Imagine a day without the Internet. It seems quite dire, coupled with the much overriding fear of missing out (FOMO) and the fact that we have come a long way since mobile networks carried fewer than 10 gigabytes per month in 2000, and less than 1 petabyte per month in 2005. It is safe to say that India currently is riding the Internet bandwagon –ahead of most countries.
With the recent digitization splurge, the role of Internet has traversed from an enabler to actually becoming our lives. Gone are the days when it was a thing for more qualified and richer families who owned a computer. Thanks to affordability, accessibility and variety, every individual, irrespective of age and background, now owns a smartphone. What began with social media, has evolved into a dominion of e-commerce sites contributing to enormous amounts of Internet data.
Future of the Connected Junta
The usage of smartphones has increased, and millennials are now the frontrunners of the World Wide Web. India has overtaken the US to become the world’s second-largest Internet market, with 333 million users, trailing China’s 721 million. With Internet users doubling by 2020, data consumption is also increasing - by as much as 85% last year. While the advancement is uniform across the country’s urban population, the rural sector is also growing at a significant pace. By 2020, rural India is predicted to house most of the 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. Concepts such as smart cities are being developed, and we’re looking at further developments such as digital passport verifications, digital driving licenses, and more. Services such as Karnataka Mobile One launch (one of India’s first e-governance services) have already started building the connected junta. Similar services will soon be developed and implemented; different verticals such as transport, healthcare, and entertainment will soon all become digitally available through mobile apps. This will further connect people to services. This increment in digital services will enable 4G to expand beyond urban areas, and make mobile data affordable and accessible to all parts of India.
Next Era of Business Growth
The Digital India campaign and other trends like reading e-books, listening to music, watching visuals, playing, teaching, selling, and even booking tickets online will boost a country whose Internet user base is fast growing.
The increase in Internet usage, via mobile data, fuels this growth. Many businesses, governments, and companies are moving several methods and procedures to mobile applications. Going mobile helps business growth as people are mobile– the idea of portability and immediacy 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 as technology and communication progress. Wider appreciation of the social impact of mobiles has galvanized a true revolution, leaving scope for service providers to overhaul their offerings. Nevertheless, it is also challenging for service providers to constantly design products and value-added services – keeping in mind the market enablers, changing consumers and trends, usage patterns, and unique requirements.
While Internet in India took more than a decade to move from 10 million to 100 million and 3 years from 100 to 200 million, it took only a year from 300 to 400 million users. The fast growing pace of users is a sign that the Internet is here to stay. Over 5 years, as smartphone adoption climbs, backed by e-commerce and mobile applications, Internet users could double to more than 600 million. In such a scenario, there lies much scope for service providers to reform offerings to contribute immensely towards the impending Digital India.