64% of Indians surf the Internet for cheap

What is the most common asset of an average Indian household? It’s the mobile phone, according to the National Family Health Survey (2019-21). Almost all surveyed households (93%) had a mobile phone, although only 89.4% had beds or mattresses, for example.

It is therefore not surprising that nearly 64% of Indians over the age of five have access to a cheap mobile internet connection. This can be gleaned from the following facts. As many as 80.19 crore Indians have a mobile internet subscription, State Communications Minister Devusinh Chauhan said in response to a question in the Lok Sabha on July 27.

According to the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) projections of June 2022, there are 125.8 crore Indians over the age of five. And a week-old report from cable.co.uk says mobile internet is quite cheap in India.

Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of subscribers – 10.15 crores, followed by Maharashtra with 9.45 crores, West Bengal with 5.47 crores and Tamil Nadu with 5.34 crores subscribers. Eighteen states and Delhi each have more than one million mobile Internet subscribers; Lakshadweep has the least – 84,363.

How cheap exactly?

Gasoline and LPG prices may be on the rise, but you can certainly count on affordable mobile data in India – the fifth cheapest in the world, according to the report.

One GB of mobile internet costs $0.17 (about ₹13.2) in India, as of April 2022, according to the report. The cheapest is in Israel, at $0.04 per GB, followed by Italy, San Marino and Fiji.

In 2019, a GB of data cost $0.26 in India. In 2020, it dropped to $0.09, largely due to Reliance Jio’s low-cost plans. However, this could not be sustained, with adjusted gross revenue levies weighing on telecom operators, and the price of mobile data soaring to $0.68 per GB in 2021. That year, 27 countries had cheaper mobile data than India.

Commenting on this, Piyush Pandey, Senior Institutional Equity Analyst, Yes Securities, said: “In 2021, many countries have started to introduce 5G. With this, people would consume more data, but at a cheaper cost per GB. This may be why India lost positions in 2021.”

The countries with the most expensive mobile data in 2022 are Saint Helena ($41.06), Falkland Islands ($38.45), São Tomé and Príncipe ($29.49), Tokelau ($17.88) and Yemen ($16.58). The similarities between these five nations are both striking and obvious. Two are in sub-Saharan Africa and four are island nations.

Broadband vs Mobile

While India enjoys low-cost mobile internet, the scene is different for broadband connections. Another report from cable.co.uk states that India’s broadband internet is the 26th cheapest in the world, at an average of $15.59 (about ₹470.82) per monthly plan in February 2022. It is the cheapest in Syria, at $2.15.

Published on

August 04, 2022

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