India's data consumption is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 72.6 per cent to 10,96,58,793 million MB by 2022, according to a study. "With lower than ever data tariffs and increasing number of smartphone penetration in the country, which is around 40 per cent as of 2017, it is safe to assume that the Video on Demand (VoD) markwill be a significant beneficiary of these developments. Internet consumption is clearly on the rise in India," according to the Assocham-PwC study.
Data consumption in India will grow from the level of 71,67,103 million MB in 2017 to 10,96,58,793 million MB (megabytes) in 2022, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 72.6 per cent, it said.
While the average Indian used to spend more on voice services than on mobile data services until 2013, the majority of an average mobile bill is now spent on data.
The average monthly spend on voice services in 2013 was Rs 214 compared to Rs 173 spent on data. In 2016, the spend on voice fell to Rs 124, while data spend rose to Rs 225, according to the report.
Video streaming constitutes roughly 65-75 per cent of the traffic, as per the Nokia Mobile Broadband Index 2018.
While internet penetration is increasing in India, with mobile internet penetration set to reach 56.7 per cent in 2022 from a mere 30.2 per cent in 2017, connectivity and consistency in speed issues need to be addressed, said the study titled 'Video on Demand: Entertainment reimagined'.
It further said that in a country where approximately 65-70 per cent of the population resides in rural areas, no service meant for the masses can afford to ignore this market.
Internet connectivity and speed issues are significant in rural areas as against urban areas. It is important for OTT (over-the-top) players to cater to the rural market if they wish to stay relevant. Thus, apps like YouTube, which support low Internet connectivity, will be able to penetrate faster into rural areas, according to the study.
The report also noted that there has been a value shift to platforms.
"Social media and technology platforms, instead of content creators and packagers, have emerged as the primary beneficiaries of the increase in user time and spending," it added.
Another major aspect in the journey of OTT players will be the ability to personalise experiences. Emerging technologies would help companies create unique experiences that add value to the services provided to users.
Earlier, it was reported that India has the cheapest mobile data in the world at Rs 18.5 or $0.26 for 1GB compared to global average of $8.53 or around Rs 600 per GB, reveals a research by Cable.co.uk. Other countries worldwide with data prices less than a dollar include Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Cable.co.uk compared mobile data charges in 230 countries from 6,313 mobile data plans between the period of October 23 and November 28 last year. In India, it compared a total of 57 data plans. Zimbabwe’s was the most expensive at $75.20 for 1GB data.
The research points out that the cheapest 1GB data was available for as low as $0.02 or around Rs 1.75 in the country, while the most expensive was $1.40 or Rs 99.9 approximately per GB. In the UK and the US, the average mobile data charges are $6.66 and $12.37 respectively.
The aggressive mobile data prices in India can be attributed to the entry of Reliance Jio 4G phone services in 2016, which sparked a price war. The company offers free voice calls along with cheap data prices, forcing rivals like Vodafone and Airtel to slash their data plan rates as well.
“A country whose young population has a particularly high technological awareness, India offers a vibrant smartphone market, with strong adoption and many competitors. Data, therefore, is quite staggeringly cheap,” the research notes.
India is followed by Kyrgyzstan, Kazakstan and Ukraine where mobile data rate per GB are $0.27, $0.49, and $0.51 respectively. The average data cost of 1GB data in China is $9.89, while that in Sri Lanka is $0.87 respectively. In Bangladesh and Pakistan, 1GB is available for $0.99 and $1.85 respectively.