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Press Release -- March 26th, 2014
Source: Nokia Siemens Networks

NSN study shows 87% jump in Indian mobile data traffic in 2013

New Delhi, India – March 26, 2013

  • 3G again drives mobile data growth, generates 43% of total network traffic
  • 2G share stabilizes further, users consume three times less data than 3G consumers

Nokia Solutions and Networks’ MBit Index study*, an annual report on mobile broadband performance in India, reveals a 87% rise in data traffic generated by 2G and 3G services during 2013, driven by strong 3G growth. According to the study, 3G data traffic leapt by 146%, surpassing the world average that is roughly doubling every year**. 2G data traffic continues to stabilize, growing by 59% over the same period.

Mobile data traffic generated by 3G services more than doubled in India in 2013, a rate much higher than growth seen in other parts of the world where mobile broadband data is expanding at 100% on average. This trend is in line with NSN’s Technology Vision 2020 that mobile networks will need to be readied to profitably deliver one gigabyte of personalized data per user per day by 2020.

NSN’s MBit Index also shows that 3G users continue to consume more data on average than 2G users. In December 2013, a 3G user consumed 532 megabyte of data compared to 146 megabyte comsuption over 2G. In some of the major urban centers the average data consumption per user is as high as one gigabyte per month, indicating the rising popularity and uptake of 3G across India. In addition, premium tariff reductions in 3G services in early 2013 led to an increased migration of high end 2G customers to 3G.

Analysis by circles*** shows that category A is the highest contributor of 3G in India, driving half of all mobile data in the country. 3G mobile data consumption grew by a record of 185% in 2013, a remarkable increase considering that these circles had registered the highest 3G payload the year before. In category B, 3G data payload surpassed that of metros with 3G now accounting for 31% of the total traffic. Both categories indicate a big demand of high- speed services, giving operators a huge opportunity to offer superior connectivity to their customers.

However, further research in ‘Top 50’ cities**** in all category circles reveals that 3G coverage in India is still limited and requires focused investments to achieve the data performance users demand. In category A for instance, the analysis of the leading 50 cities where 3G has been launched shows that additional 10% to 15% 3G sites are needed to match the existing 2G coverage. In category B there is a gap of 15% to 20% sites. Moreover, there are still some cities among the top 50 where 3G has not yet been launched. On average, 20% to 25% additional sites are needed to cover the cities that are not yet covered in category A and B.

“India is recording mobile broadband data growth figures higher than most other markets,” said Sandeep Girotra, head of India region at NSN. “With the recent spectrum auctions paving the way for acceleration of mobile broadband penetration in the country, there is a great  opportunity for India to create a world-class infrastructure and improve the lives of millions of Indians. This can be achieved through a wider 3G rollout as well as through selected introduction of LTE technologies and the modernization of existing GSM networks.”

To help address the explosion in network data traffic and improve service quality in India, NSN offers the industry’s most comprehensive mobile broadband portfolio and services to deliver higher efficiency, lower costs and superior customer experience. NSN is the leading mobile broadband and managed services provider in the country. Through its two Global Delivery Centers (GDC) in Chennai and Noida, and with the expert advantage of over 9.000 service professionals in the country, the company manages around 160,000 2G and 3G sites, serving over 220 million subscribers for operators in India.

For more information on NSN’s mobile broadband capabilities, including a video overview, follow this link. To share your thoughts on the topic, join @NSNtweets on Twitter using #mobilebroadband, #3G and #LTE. For expert insights, visit our blog.

About NSN

Nokia Solutions and Networks is the world’s specialist in mobile broadband. From the first ever call on GSM, to the first call on LTE, we operate at the forefront of each generation of mobile technology. Our global experts invent the new capabilities our customers need in their networks. We provide the world’s most efficient mobile networks, the intelligence to maximize the value of those networks, and the services to make it all work seamlessly.

With headquarters in Espoo, Finland, we operate in over 120 countries and had net sales of approximately 11.3 billion euros in 2013. NSN is wholly owned by Nokia Corporation.

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* Nokia Solutions and Networks’ MBit Index is a report on mobile broadband performance in India. The main objective of the study is to provide reliable time series based statistics and insights about mobile broadband traffic growth in India, and co-relate those trends with changes in various ecosystem drivers such as subscriber usage patterns, tariffs and coverage.

This is the third edition of the NSN MBit Index study. It evaluates 2G, 3G and overall data traffic growth trends at pan-India and at a circle category level, data consumption per user on 2G and 3G and deep 3G coverage across circle categories in India – between January and December 2013.

MBit Index has been created based on Nokia Solutions and Networks’ analysis of data obtained from various sources. The MBit Index analyzes mobile broadband traffic trends only at a consolidated level and does not intend to provide any comparative analysis of data growth of different operators.

** Based on Nokia Solutions and Networks’ 3G & LTE network deployments around the world.

*** The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has divided the market into 23 service areas referred to as “circles” (roughly in line with the country’s 28 states). The circles are further divided into four categories: “metro” circles covering four major cities, “Category A” circles for regions with other large cities, “Category B” circles covering regions with smaller towns, and “Category C” circles for rural areas.

**** Top 50 cities are the ones that generate most 2G traffic in each circle and therefore have most number of 2G sites. From network planning perspective, these cities are also the prime candidates for building 3G coverage.

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