When it comes to global internet traffic, India sees the heaviest data carried on its network after the country’s data usage grew five times in the last one year. The country’s network carries 2.1 exabytes of data per month (1 exabyte = 1 million terabytes) — way ahead of North America, European Union, Latin America (Latam), China, Eastern Europe and Middle East & Africa.
The entry of Jio has proved to be a game changer of sorts with average data consumption sky-rocketing and prices falling by more than half. “The key tussle between the top-three telecom operators has been for high ARPU (average revenue per user) data-using subscribers. This has resulted in data cost falling from Rs 12/GB to Rs 5/GB currently,” said Piyush Nahar, equity analyst, Jefferies. The price cuts are more visible in prepaid than in post-paid packs.
“This 60% cut in data prices has driven a sharp increase in volumes. Total data carried per month by the top four operators has increased five times over the past 12 months.We believe that this fight for data subscribers will continue and data prices may actually bottom out at a lower pricing,” Nahar added.
Airtel attributed this boom to digital consumption of social media, music, videos and more on smartphones. Data also showed this boom has led to the average Indian consuming four times more data in the last one year.
“Increasing penetration of high-speed 4G networks along with affordable smartphones and budget friendly data packs with large bundles of GBs is leading to a massive boom in data consumption in India. In fact, video is now touted as the new language of internet and is seeing the highest growth,” said a spokesperson from Airtel, which saw total data traffic on its mobile network grow by more than 550% to over 1 million TB during quarter ended Dec 2017.