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Indian smartphone users world’s top data consumers

India has quietly crossed a milestone in global mobility by consuming the highest mobile data per smartphone user in the world, overtaking the combined rich and less populated Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

The GCC countries include Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and the Sultanate of Oman.

India’s average mobile data traffic per smartphone in 2023 has hit 31GB per month, crossing that of GCC countries for the first time this year , who were at 30 GB a month. In 2022 the two were in a neck-and-neck battle, with data usage per smartphone per month pegged at 25GB. In 2021 the GCC countries were ahead of India by 2GB per month.

The research is based on Ericsson’s Mobility Report for 2023, which was released globally on Thursday.

That’s not all. As India embarks on an aggressive rollout of 5G service, data consumption is expected to soar to 75 GB per month per smartphone user in 2029. This is far ahead of any competition, with the GCC falling way back at a data usage of 66GB per user per month in 2029, and is on a par with North America as well as southeast Asia and Oceania in the same year. The global average consumption of data per smartphone in 2023 is pegged at 21 GB per month and expected to hit 56 GB in 2029. While Ericsson does not separately give out data on China, it is part of the northeast Asia region which also includes South Korea and Japan. However, the average data usage in these three countries is much lower — 21GB per month in 2023, and expected to go up to 64 GB by 2029.

Data available independently from various sources reinforce the view that data consumption in China is far lower than that in India. For example, China Mobile witnessed data consumption to the tune of 14.1 GB per month per user in 2022.

India’s total mobile data traffic is estimated to go up from 26 exabyte (EB) per month in 2023 to 73 EB per month by 2029, signifying a compounded annual growth rate of 19 per cent. This is driven by three factors: the increased trend of consumers shifting from 2G feature phones to smartphones, increased usage propelled by low tariffs, and the aggressive rollout of 5G, with more subscribers upgrading to the new service. About 120 million have done so already, even though the service has been available for just over a year. Business Standard

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