India’s Internet Population May Hit 500M By 2017

As inexpensive mobile devices and 2G subscriptions grow in number, spurring Internet use in India, total online users could top 500 million by 2017.

TechCrunch reported that the estimate comes from the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and KPMG and represents a significant increase from the current level of 350 million seen today. The growth in Internet users will come as people who live in India’s cities move swiftly to upgrade to 3G and 4G, with “slower but more affordable” data plans motivating people outside cities to move to embrace the Internet.

IAMAI President Dr. Subho Ray said in a statement that the Internet growth will be spearheaded by initiative in rural areas: “The advent of low-cost smartphones coupled with low mobile tariffs has empowered consumers in the hinterland to use data connectivity, and we will be seeing more usage from those areas in months to come.” Many of the rural subscribers will grab onto 2G plans. Of the 82 million 3G subscribers in the nation, growth is slated to be spectacular, nearly tripling within two years to 284 million.

Of the 500 million estimated Internet users in 2017, says the IAMAI report, 314 million will be mobile users.

There’s certainly room for India’s Internet and mobile use to grow. As TechCrunch noted, though the nation has the second highest absolute number of users in the world, after China, the overall penetration rate is a relatively minor 19 percent.


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