A study has revealed a 92 per cent increase in mobile data traffic generated by both 2G and 3G services in India between December 2011 and December 2012. The study, conducted by Nokia Siemens Networks, further reveals that mobile data traffic generated by 3G services increased by 196 per cent while mobile data traffic generated by 2G services increased by 66 per cent during the period.
Each 3G user currently consumes close to 300 per cent more data on an average than a 2G user. And currently, a 3G user consumes 434 MB per month on an average while a 2G user consumes 115 MB per month.
In the first half of the research period, December 2011- June 2012, data traffic generated by 3G services increased by 78 per cent while that of 2G services increased by 47 per cent. In the second half, July 2012 - December 2012, data traffic generated by 3G services increased by 54 per cent while that of 2G services increased by 18 per cent on a larger base. Hence, the growth rate of 3G data in the second half of 2012 was almost triple that of the growth rate of 2G. In the second half, 2G data growth stabilized due to high-end 2G users migrating to 3G services.
The 3G tariff reduction by operators in mid 2012 led to the significant growth in 3G data consumption across the country, with category A circles seeing the maximum impact. 3G services generated one-third of the total mobile data in the country in the second half of the year – up from one-fourth in the first half.
The study further reveals that in category A circles, there is a very strong tendency to access mobile data using smartphones. Forty five percent of the total data accessed by smartphone users is generated in these circles. But half the number of these users still access mobile data on 2G networks. This provides operators a huge opportunity to encourage 2G users to go for much faster 3G services. It also underscores the need for operators to make 2G/GSM networks more smartphone friendly in order to ensure a better customer experience. The report further reveals that data currently accessed by smartphones using 3G services in category B and C circles is much lower than the national average, with category B circles recording 75 per cent of the mobile data consumption using 2G services only.