Data traffic grew by 60 times in past 5 years – 99% of the data usage came from 4G in 2020

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Data traffic grew by 60 times in past 5 years – 99% of the data usage came from 4G in 2020
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Data traffic in India grew approximately 60 times over the last five years which is amongst the highest globally, said a new Nokia report on Thursday.

Interestingly, the report revealed that there are already two million active 5G devices in use across the country.

In 2020, the data traffic grew by 36% year-over-year primarily due to rise in 4G data consumption as 4G subscribers surpassed 700 million with 100 million new additions during the year, said the Mobile Broadband India Traffic Index (MBiT) 2021 report on mobile broadband performance in India.

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The research showed that 4G alone constituted nearly 99% of the total data traffic consumed across the country in 2020.

"The phenomenal growth in data consumption in India will drive demand for enhanced broadband and fixed capacity," Sanjay Malik, Senior Vice President and Head of India Market, Nokia, said in a statement.

"Industry 4.0 with various IoT and enterprise use-cases, immersive applications experience (AR/VR), smart home, factory and public safety use cases will spur LTE, 5G growth and data usage further."

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According to the study, the average monthly data usage per user reached 13.5 GB in December 2020, growing over 20% annually owing to an increase in data subscribers and mobile video consumption.

New users from rural areas also contributed to the rising monthly data usage.

Mobile emerged as primary source of entertainment and productivity as an average Indian spent approximately 5 hours daily on a smartphone which is one of the highest averages globally.

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Short video format was the fastest-growing content category, said the report, adding that total time spent monthly on short content is expected to grow four times by 2025.

Relating to device trends, the report reveals that the 4G device base surpassed 607 million units reaching a 77% penetration level.

A double-digit growth is expected in 2021 for the smartphone industry as people embrace hybrid work models, e-learning, and consume content over OTT (over-the-top) platforms.

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With only 22 million fixed broadband subscribers, there is a significant growth opportunity for this segment.

As India prepares to launch 5G amidst Covid-19, fixed broadband accessibility through Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) and FTTx will help generate a new revenue stream for operators.

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