Internet users exceed 100 million in India; mobile net usage still in infancy

Internet users exceed 100 million in India; mobile net usage still in infancy

According to the latest statistics published by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the number of Internet users in the country has for the first time exceeded 100 million, a Business Standard report reveals.

The number of Internet users in India stood at 112 million in September this year, with 88 million of them coming from the urban cities and 24 million from the country’s numerous villages and small towns. That is a growth of about 13% from the numbers that were reported last year, and the research organisation predicts that a further 11 million users will be added to the tally before the end of the year.

These figures may sound impressive but 112 million is less than 10% of the country’s overall population of over 1.2 billion; even among those, only 90 million claim to use the Internet at least once a month. The numbers for moderate to heavy Internet users fall further still. There are 58.6 million PCs in use in the country and 14.7 million Internet connections, out of which 11.9 million are broadband.

Internet usage in the country is driven primarily by young people, with over 75% of the Internet users being school- or college-going kids and young men. The use of public cyber cafés is falling, even as the use of government-installed common service centres (CSCs) in villages continues to rise. In the urban areas, people are moving from cyber cafés to broadband connections installed in their homes, which is a positive sign.

The report predicts that Internet usage will continue to rise in India as awareness about its use spreads and says that India may become the world leader in Internet usage by the end of this decade. Data from Google backs that prediction, which itself claimed that Internet users will triple in the country by the year 2014.

Another interesting facet of the report was the statistic on mobile usage, which it claimed only accounted for 8% of overall Internet use in India. However, given the recent attention being paid to the development of the mobile Internet infrastructure in the country, specially with Bharti’s joint venture with Japan’s SoftBank and both Reliance Industries’ and Bharti’s plans to bring 4G to India, we should see those numbers start rising soon.

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