A Bright Digital Future
India is now ranked as the third largest internet-using country in the world. This bodes well for the future.
India has become the third largest internet-using
country in the world.
India recently created history in the digital world by becoming the third largest internet-using country, after China and the U.S. Interestingly, threefourths of India’s online population is below 35 – significantly younger than internet users in other emerging economies.
According to comScore, a global digital management and analytics firm, India now has nearly 74 million internet users, a 31 percent increase from March 2012. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has revealed another interesting point: until March 2013, there were nearly 164.81 million internet subscribers in India, with seven out of eight accessing the internet from their mobile phones.
However, comScore says that mobile and tablet-based internet traffic in India is just 14 percent while the remaining traffic is via desktop computers and laptops. The sharp rise in internet users from March 2012 signifies India’s efforts to improve its educational system and spread literacy. Moreover, India has been promoting education across the country and has a literacy rate of 74 percent – the third highest amongst South Asian nations, with the Maldives (93.8 percent) and Sri Lanka (91.2 percent) holding the highest and second-highest positions, respectively.
Comparing male and female internet users in India, sources claim that men under 35 and women between 35 and 44 are regular internet users. However, women account for less than 40 percent of all Indian users, a ratio less than other countries. Furthermore, comScore also revealed that internet users in India spend a quarter of their time on the social media, of which nearly 23 percent is spent on communicating via email.
Lately, online dominance has shifted towards Asia where India is leading the South Asian region. Moreover, Asia accounts for 41 percent of all internet users in the world. This shows that there is still ample room for development. Furthermore, India is gearing to become the leader in internet usage and is already a key player in the global software market. Most western companies outsource their projects to India and the country experienced mushroom growth of call centers in the last decade, which has augmented internet traffic originating from India.
India’s fast growing internetusing population also hints at its technological advancement. The country has been moving ahead in the telecom and IT sectors and has made significant progress in space research and nuclear technology, giving it a clear edge over other South Asian nations.
Technological advancement has paved the way for the country’s progress and has also benefitted individual internet users who can now communicate with anyone around the globe through wireless services and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Moreover, the Indian telecommunications sector is providing users with low-priced internet coverage, which has made unlimited video calls and voice calls almost free.
The growth of internet penetration in India has also resulted in an increase in the number of mobile phone users. As of April 2013, there were nearly 900 million mobile users in India, making it a country with the world’s second highest ratio of mobile-phone users.
The Indian telecommunications sector is also making efforts to increase internet speed, hence allowing for faster browsing and downloading. Moving a step further from 3G technology, India is ready to introduce 4G Internet that will provide higher data speed, internet Protocol Television (IPTV) support, high-speed browsing, enhanced audio-video streaming and video conferencing support.
India’s corporate sector will also reap the benefits of 4G technology that will further increase the country’s internet penetration, which currently stands at nearly 12 percent while that of China is 40.1 percent.
Although India’s internet penetration is growing, it is also affecting the price of internet facilities. Sources say Indian telecommunications companies may raise internet rates
by 30 percent. The rising cost is associated with the new telecom licenses recently issued by India's Department of Telecom. Under these new agreements, telecom operators, including Internet Service Providers (ISPs), are required to pay 8 percent annually on their adjusted gross revenue (AGR).
Although a possible increase in internet prices may affect users in some ways, it will not affect those who are surfing the World Wide Web through their smartphones. A fairly large number of Indians now use the internet on smartphones, to get the best of internet packages offered by cellular services. Furthermore, internet users in India are going in a big way for smartphonesones because non-stop access to the internetnternet is fast becoming a necessity, as users, especially entrepreneurs, need to be in touch with their clients and colleagues all the time. Moreover, commuters spend many hours in traveling every day and choose to while away their time on the internet.
With the youth forming a major part of India’s internet population, the country’s internet penetration is expected to increase in the coming years. The rural areas are also likely to benefit from these technological advancements, especially with the arrival of 4G technology, which will create jobs, thus improving the standard of living of the common man. It would probably be right to say that the country has a bright future in the digital world.