Headquartered in Espoo Finland, Nokia Siemens Networks is a specialist in mobile broadband, and operates in over 120 countries and has had net sales of approximately 13.4 billion Euros in 2012. The company also provides managed services; managing 160,000 2G and 3G sites for all the top telecom operators as well as is the leading supplier of packet core, the gateway to all data traffic in wireless networks.
Nokia Siemens Networks’ MBit Index study reveals a 92% increase in mobile data traffic generated by both 2G and 3G services in India between December 2011 and December 2012. MBit Index study is based on Nokia Siemens Networks’ internal analysis of aggregated data from multiple sources in India.
3G services generate one third of the total mobile data; category A circles biggest contributor for 3G data. In category A circles, half the number of smartphone users still use 2G for data. The study further reveals that mobile data traffic generated by 3G services increased by 196% while mobile data traffic generated by 2G services increased by 66% during the period.
According to the study, each 3G user currently consumes close to 300% 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% while that of 2G services increased by 47%. In the second half, July 2012 – December 2012, data traffic generated by 3G services increased by 54% while that of 2G services increased by 18% 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 reveals that in category A circles, there is a very strong tendency to access mobile data using smartphones. 45% 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% of the mobile data consumption using 2G services only.
“The fact that data consumption by 3G users has tripled in one year clearly shows the rapid and steady increase in mobile data consumption in India. This translates into the need for high-quality mobile broadband services with improved speed and service quality to satisfy mobile broadband users,” said Sandeep Girotra, head of India region at Nokia Siemens Networks. “In addition, the observations of trends in various circles underscore the need for a special focus on further enhancing 3G network coverage in A, B and C circles across the country. Constantly improving the quality of data services and fulfilling growing expectations of mobile broadband customers will be a win-win for both operators and data customers.”
The trend in mobile data growth in India is in line with other high growth mobile data markets around the world as well as with Nokia Siemens Networks’ vision that operators worldwide will need to be prepared to provide 1GB of personalized data per user by 2020.