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India added 60 million new internet users in 2016: TRAI

July 04, 2017 / 07:22 PM IST
Commuters watch videos on their mobile phones as they travel in a suburban train in Mumbai, India, April 2, 2016. With smartphone sales booming and India preparing for nationwide 4G Internet access, India's film and TV industry hopes the ease of tapping your phone for the latest release will generate profits at last, overcoming the problems of woefully few cinemas and rampant piracy. Picture taken April 2, 2016. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade - RTSDS09

Commuters watch videos on their mobile phones as they travel in a suburban train in Mumbai, India, April 2, 2016. With smartphone sales booming and India preparing for nationwide 4G Internet access, India's film and TV industry hopes the ease of tapping your phone for the latest release will generate profits at last, overcoming the problems of woefully few cinemas and rampant piracy. Picture taken April 2, 2016. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade - RTSDS09


India added 60 million new internet users in 2016, and around 100 million users (existing + new) took up broadband connections, according to the Telecom Regulation Authority's yearly report for 2016.

India currently had 391 million internet subscribers in all, according to the report, adding that a majority of the new users  accessed internet using their mobile phone.
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The report said that 94.3 percent of internet users avail mobile wireless connections through mobile data or dongle. This follows a steep decline in the prices of both smartphones as well as data plans.

Bharti Airtel added 22.56 million new users during 2016,  but its market share dropped by 0.5 percentage points to x.x percent in December 2016.

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Reliance Jio ended the year with 6.4 percent market share and 72.16 million subscribers. Jio had entered the market in September 2016 with a free introductory offer to attract subscribers. Idea Cellular's FY 17 annual report called Jio's entry a 'disruption' for the wireless industry.

In terms of internet subscribers, Bharti Airtel still holds the top position with 21.67 percent market share followed by Reliance Jio Infocom Ltd. with 18.43 percent. But in wireless broadband, Reliance Jio takes the cake with the largest market share of 33.11 percent.

Key Takeways

Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are the top three states in terms of broadband users, with most of the users concentrated in urban areas.

While the users of broadband services surged in 2015-16, users of narrowband decreased by 40 million and migrated to broadband connection.

The total number of mobile users increased by 11.5 percent over one year, but number of wireline subcribers--already marginal among telecom users--went down by 4.5 percent.

The broader trend shows a shift towards use of broadband, which provides download speed of 512 kbps or above, on mobile devices.

What's ahead?

In terms of internet penetration, India still lags its peers. According to World Bank data of 2015, India had only 26 percent online population. With the recent increase in internet users, penetration is roughly about 30 percent now.  India's current  1.3 billion population means it has one of the largest number of people living offline in the 21st century of technological advance.
first published: Jul 4, 2017 07:03 pm

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