The screen usage of Indians on smartphones moved up from three hours to as much as five hours, and when connected through broadband (Wi-Fi), the screen usage moved up from 2.5 hours to 4.5 hours, according to Ericsson Mobility Report.
As people stayed home due to travel restrictions, digital and internet emerged as the backbone of the country and the economy, with a near 20% surge in overall online consumption.
The Ericsson report, which tracks global telecom markets, showed that data consumption in India was the highest worldwide in 2019, and shot up even more during the lockdown. India’s data consumption in 2019 stood at 12GB per user per month, much higher than the global average of 7GB per user per month. This, according to the report, will go up to 25GB per user a month over the next five years.
“Around 41 crore additional smartphone users are expected in India by 2025,” the report said, adding nearly 18% of users will be on 5G network by that time against zero users right now. The government is taking baby steps towards the introduction of 5G, and is looking to begin trials over the next few months. However, auctions of 5G spectrum are expected only by middle of next year in view of the tough financial position of companies such as Airtel and Vodafone Idea.
Companies such as Ericsson, Samsung, Nokia, Cisco and Huawei will be vying for business when companies start investments in the high-speed network that promises speeds of over 1,000 MBPS.
Giving out details about telecom trends in India during the lockdown, the Ericsson report showed that 89% of those aged 60 years and above felt that “reliable video calling” helped them to stay in touch with family and friends during the crisis.
Also, 77% parents said information and communications technology helped them continue with the education of their children from home. And, despite the traffic surge, consumers felt that networks stayed strong.
Around 71% of those questioned by Ericsson said they were satisfied with the fixed broadband performance, while 66% said mobile broadband networks performed the same or better compared to the period before the crisis.
Also, 65% said they considered mobile broadband to be as important as Wi-Fi. Looking forward, 85% of those questioned said internet connectivity will continue to be the most critical not only during this crisis but also during such situations in future.
Also, 79% workers in India said working remotely will be the new normal and expect employers to encourage remote working as a fundamental business practice.
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