2nd March 2017 | 08:12 pmShocking figures are emerging about the use of cell phones in India in the first two quarters of 2017, with only 4,001 units being sold for the three months to March 31, compared to a total of 7,600 units for the same period last year.
In a recent survey conducted by the mobile operators of India’s four major telecom carriers, the National Informatics Centre (NIC) found that, at the end of March, only 5,000 units of the 4,200 sold in March 2017 were being used by consumers, compared with the total number of cell phone users in India as a whole of 7.7 crore.
In the same survey, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) found the use in India of smartphones increased to 7.5 crore units in the March quarter from 4.6 crore units last year, with nearly half of them being used to get calls.
COAI chief executive Ashok Kumar said that the rapid growth in smartphones and tablets for the country’s 1.2 billion people, including its burgeoning middle class, has been fuelled by a shift to social media for the masses.
“We have seen a huge spike in the use for mobile phones in the country,” Kumar said.
“Mobile phones are used in a very large number of areas, including in remote rural areas, where mobile data has become an important mode of communication.
It has increased the use from the mobile phone, which is very costly, to the smartphone.”
The rapid growth of smartphones in India has been driven by a desire for mobile data services like WhatsApp, which has been downloaded by millions of Indians in the past three years.
But it has also driven a shift in usage of other mobile devices, especially the ubiquitous smartphones, which have become increasingly common in urban areas.
“With the proliferation of smartphones and the increase in use of smart phones, people have taken to other modes of communication,” Kumar told The Times Of India.
“They are now accessing these other modes through social media, for example Facebook and WhatsApp.”
According to Kumar, the growth of smartphone use in the last three years has largely been driven largely by the use by people who are in the middle class or in urban living conditions.
“Mobile phones were used by people in the 20th century for getting a call.
They used them in the 1990s and then the 2000s for voice calls.
But now it is used by a much larger number of people in India, including those in the low and middle income classes.
The usage has been growing at a rate of about 10 per cent a year,” he said.”
The growth of the usage of smartphones has been very rapid.
We have seen over 3,000 million cell phones used in the quarter of 2017.
The market has grown by around 5 per cent over the last year and is expected to grow by around 10 per a year over the next two years,” Kumar added.
The NIC’s research has revealed that of the 5,600 smartphones sold, the bulk of them were used in rural areas.
Of the 3,500 sold, about 200 were sold to households.
“The rural phone market is growing at an incredible rate,” Kumar pointed out.
“There is an increasing demand from rural people for affordable phones.
The use of smartphones by rural people has increased.
And there is also a huge demand for messaging apps like WhatsApp.”
The NIPC report, conducted by industry body Cellular Operations Association of America (COAA), also showed that, over the past two years, the use and purchase of mobile phones by rural households has gone up by about 15 per cent.
“This is very good news for the rural population.
It will help them get their voice calls more easily, as well as make it easier to manage their personal data.
The mobile phone market in rural India is very competitive.
We are witnessing an acceleration of mobile phone penetration, which we have not seen in the rural market,” Kumar noted.