Indians are expected to spend $21.4 billion (Rs 1.3 lakh crore) this year to make calls and access data services on mobile phones, an increase of four per cent from 2014, according to information technology research and advisory firm Gartner Inc.
The jump in mobile spending would be fuelled by rising mobile consumers and the availability of cheap smartphones, it added.
By the end of this year, mobile connections in India will grow to 880 million, five per cent higher than the 837 million connections in 2014. Spending on data is expected to grow 15 per cent to reach $6.5 billion (Rs 42,340 crore).
Most of the growth will be driven by the increasing use of cellular services on data-centric devices such as tablets and notebooks, along with the launch of newer and faster networks such as 4G. Lack of infrastructure for wired internet services will pave the way for more spending on mobile data services, it said.
“Data-only connections will be the way for consumers to access broadband connectivity because of a lack of fixed networks,” said Neha Gupta, senior research analyst at Gartner.
Affordable smartphones will be key driver to increase spending on data services.
Apps that let users have video chat with others, watch videos on the move and listen to streamed music will drive mobile data traffic, thus increasing data spending. Mobile operators, therefore, need innovative pricing strategies to attract customers, the report said.
“Communication service providers will need to focus on creating new pricing, with a focus on data access, such as shared plans. They will also need to refine services they provide, with a focus on creating richer, more immersive, and more personalised experiences, to increase their customer numbers,” said Gupta.
Although wealthy persons are often the first users of new apps and devices, younger and less wealthy people make greater use of mobile apps, according to the study.