Today TRAI released an analytical report on Wireless Data Services. The report shows that the total number of wireless data subscribers has increased with a yearly growth rate of 36.36% from 424.02 million at the end of year 2017 to 578.20 million at the year ending 2018.
Total wireless telephone subscribers were 1176.00 million at the year ending 2018 which means only 49.17% of them were using Data while remaining 50% still doesn’t have a data connection.
Since the launch of 4G services in the country in 2016, there has been an explosive growth of wireless data subscribers at affordable rates on a pan-India scale, in just 2 years number of 4G data subscribers increased manifold from 86.68 million at the end of the year 2016 to 436.12 million at the year ending 2018.
With the wide increment in the expansion of 4G(LTE) technology, we are also seeing a constant decline in the number of 2G, 3G and CDMA data subscribers. In the last 3 years, 4G has seen yearly growth of 197.8% while 3G and 2G saw spike decline at a rate of 34.8 and 8.3% respectively.
There has been a 131% increase in wireless data usage of the country from 20,092 million GB in the year 2017 to 46,404 million GB in the year 2018. TRAI also notes that due to the introduction of 4G technology in India in 2016 and the promotional offers given by the new player (JIO), the growth rate of wireless data usage jumped from 66.1% (in 2015) to 237.6% (in 2016) which further increased to 332.8% (in 2017). The share of 4G data usage in the total volume of wireless data usage was 86.85% during the year 2018.
Average wireless data usage per subscriber per month increased from 4.11 GB during the year 2017 to 7.60 GB during the year 2018 and India became a leading country in wireless data consumption per subscriber per month leaving behind countries like USA, UK, Singapore, Japan and South Korea.
With a yearly growth rate of 40.61%, Total revenue from wireless data usage increased from Rs. 38,882 crore in the year 2017 to Rs.54,671 crore in the year 2018. Average data revenue per wireless data subscriber per month increased by 12.56% in 2018, however, it declined by 0.94% and 10.32% in the year 2016 and 2017 respectively. Total revenue collection from wireless data usage also increased from Rs. 38,882 crore in the year 2017 to Rs. 54,671.44 crore (excluding rental revenue) in the year 2018.
Cost of 1GB data in 2014 was Rs. 269. But with the introduction of 4G services and entry of new telecom player Jio, there has been a steep reduction in the cost of the Internet. Wireless data cost was Rs. 226 per GB in 2015 but it declined sharply from Rs. 75.57 per GB during the year 2016 to Rs.19.35 per GB in the year 2017 and Rs.11.78 per GB in the year 2018, due to intense tariff competition in the telecom service sector, which as a result benefitted consumers and increased both number of users and volume of usage.