4G was major driver of data traffic in 2016

New Delhi: 4G was the major source of data traffic across the country in 2016, contributing 60 per cent of the incremental payload from 2015 levels, a new report said on Thursday.

According to Nokia MBit Index report on mobile broadband performance in India, though 4G coverage is yet to penetrate across all circles, it contributed to 13 per cent of the total data traffic pan-India in a span of year since launch.

In metros alone, where the majority of 4G deployments have taken place, the contribution of 4G to data traffic was 26 per cent.

“Indian operators will need to explore technologies, such as carrier aggregation, small cells, sectorization, and fiberization, to enhance overall efficiency and increase capacity to meet the growing demands,” said Sanjay Malik, Head of India Market, Nokia, in a statement.

According to the report, 4G monthly data usage per subscriber was over 1,400MB compared to nearly 850MB per subscriber for 3G, primarily driven by faster download speeds over 4G networks and larger screen with higher resolution of 4G devices that accelerated data consumption.

Video and social networking together contribute to 65 per cent to 75 per cent of traffic, communication and social media apps continue to drive engagement in terms of time spent.

2G data volumes dipped for the first time in 2016 as compared to the 12 per cent growth it witnessed in 2015, as 2G subscribers continued to migrate, the findings showed.

4G-enabled smartphones saw a 2.7 times increase over the last year, while 3G-enabled smartphones witnessed a 1.2 times increase.

In 2016, only 13 per cent of the 4G smartphone users had 4G connections and 35 per cent of the 3G smartphone users had 3G connections, implying a significant growth opportunity for operators.

Uptake of new-age technologies such as Internet-of-things (IoT), evolving concepts such as smart cities, and new devices offering virtual reality experiences will all enhance data usage going forward, the report added.