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Statistics of Mobile phones: Sunday Anchor of Hindu

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Important points:

  • Mobile phones have helped India skip adopting two existing technology platforms which otherwise would have cost billions of rupees and decades of time: Fixed line phones and Fixed cable Internet.
  • Many people in India are buying a mobile phone and using internet on it without ever having a fixed phone or a home internet connection.
  • Only 5% of Indians have a Personal Computer(PC) so majority use mobile phones to surf the internet
  • Consumers derive enormous value from mobile and their perceived economic value derived from a mobile phone far exceeds its cost. According to Boston Consulting Group, in emerging countries like India, the consumer-reported value of mobile exceeds 40 per cent of average income
  • Cheaper and powerful mobile technologies has enabled this enormous growth in mobile sector



  • Presently India has 970 million(m) mobile phone subscribers, by 2018 it will have cross 1200 m subscribers
  • No: of Mobile phone users in India in 2015: around 620 m(more than half of the population), it would touch 770 m by 2018
  • India will have 200 m smartphone users by 2016, beating US to reach 2nd position
  • Feature phones are not dead though: In 2014, 180 million feature phones were shipped, more than twice the number of smart phones. Feature phones can also be used in innovative manner, especially for money-transfer mechanisms such as Vodafone’s M-Pesa.


  • India will have more than 500 million Internet users by 2018. The first 100 million internet users took 20 years; the next 100 million will take three years; and the 100 million after that could take within a year.
  • In two years India will have the largest Facebook user base on mobile
  • The demographics of internet users is also changing: The last 100 million users will be drastically different from the first 100 million on multiple dimensions: they will be older, more rural, more female, more mobile-led, and more vernacular.

An ‘Appy’ India:

  • Indians adopting apps on their phones in to their lives with great speed. There seems to be an app for everything
  • Some innovative Apps: Tracking pollution in the Ganga (Bhuvan app), Alerting a Kerala snake catcher (King Cobra)
  • Common Apps: Music (Wynk), commerce (Paytm), education (Coursera), groceries (BigBasket), cab (Uber), self-drive cars (Zoomcar), retail (Flipkart), price discovery (OLX), friends (WhatsApp), social networking (Facebook), professional networking (LinkedIn), security (VithU).



Trends in Rural India:

  • With the single TV in a rural home being generally used for consuming entertainment, Whatsapp and Facebook are becoming the ways to consume news
  • Rural mobile Internet users total about a third of their urban counterparts
  • The mobile has become an important tool to help people keep track of issues like immunisation
  • Rural healthcare: There is a shortage of doctors, trained healthcare workers can access healthcare information and get detailed information on their phones. Telemedicine is also beginning to catch up. A number of tech providers, hospitals are now investing in this area



  • Though security is still an issue, with perceptions divided on how safe it is to share credit card details online, solutions like cash on delivery has ‘fixed’ this problem largely
  • Myntra has already gone app only and Flipkart plans to shut its site and offer its services from mobiles from next year
  • India has the highest percentage(around 40%) of total e-commerce sales carried out through mobiles
  • Small and medium enterprises in emerging markets such as Brazil, China, and India have taken to mobile technologies faster than their counterparts in the developed world.


  • Though one can buy a smartphone for less than Rs 2000 in India, because of vast poverty, the mobiles need to become more cheaper to have universal reach
  • Security of mobile phones is a big issue, especially for cash-transaction usage
  • Broadband speeds for mobiles in India is one of the lowest in the world, need to adopt 4G speeds quickly