Report : It’s Time India Should Get High Speed Unlimited Data Plans
India has been stuck in the internet revolution for many a years. And while the country is progressing at a rapid speed, infrastructure is not growing fast enough. With new businesses sprouting each day, the need for a connected economy has increased considerably.
India’s Massive Market
India is one of the largest consumers of mobile phones in the world. Enough so, that many manufacturers have put India in the first list of launch countries. According to the TRAI Performance Indicator Report, India has 414.18 million wireless GSM connected users as of March 2015. But this is just in the rural sector, the all India number is at
705.21 928 Million according to the COAI report of May 2015 and Others report of Dec 2014. This number also receives staggering growth of 2.5% month on month in the Rural sector and a growth of 0.90% month on month nationwide.
What appears to be a small growth percentage, 2.5% growth means that the industry is adding approximately 10.2 million rural subscribers a month at the current trend. This additional user base earns the industry approximately Rs. 1200 crore each quarter. This large number is only a dip in an industry that moved around Rs. 26781 crore in revenue in Q4 2014.
The large revenue for the telecom operators is driven largely by the large number of users and large user base additions each month. But how much has the industry progressed since the begining of the internet age.
[pullquote_left] By the End of 2014 the World was Consuming 3000 PetaBytes of Data [/pullquote_left]
Global consumption of mobile data is through the roof. By Q4 2010 the world was only getting acquainted to mobile data and consumption of data on a portable phone was at 400 PetaBytes (mobile data traffic Up+Down). However, by the end of 2014 the world was consuming 3000 PetaBytes of Data. The industry estimates that the growth with continue by 60-70% each month.
Global Launch Trends
HSPA 42 Mbps networks have been commercially launched in 86 countries, while LTE networks have been commercially launched in 112 countries. So far, 40 LTE TDD networks have been made commercially available in 27 countries, with 27 operators launching LTE services using only the TDD mode, and 13 deploying both TDD and FDD modes together. 6 In a mixed LTE FDD/TDD network, the use of FDD for the uplink can improve the effective coverage area of the TDD band, and can also make TDD more efficient on the downlink.
On the other side mobile operators in 75 countries have now launched HD voice commercially. VoLTE or “voice on LTE” provides users with telecom-grade HD voice, video calling and other new, richer communication services on LTE smartphones.
State of Indian Networks
Despite all the launches mentioned above, India remains as a part of none of them. While India contributes to a large percentage of global mobile data usage, it all somehow comes from poor data connections.
It is estimated that if connection quality and speeds were to improve in India, the present data consumption would increase by 400%. A number that the industry should play close attention to. Over 60% of the data consumption in India was mobile data by the end of 2014.
Mobile Data Drivers
Out of the total mobile data consumed in India, 45% comes from video playback from websites like YouTube. A large chunk of music streaming services are also responsible for driving mobile data in the country.
[pullquote_left]55% of mobile data will be consumed for Video services[/pullquote_left]
Globally, YouTube is responsible for consumption of 40-60% of mobile data, a number which is relatively lower at 17% in India due to mobile data connectivity and speed limitations.
It is estimated that by the year 2020, 55% of mobile data will be consumed for Video services. Reaching this percentage will be possible by the implementation of 5G mobile data globally. 5G services are being tested in over 8 countries as we read this, while implementation for global markets is kept at 2019. India (and some other markets) are not a part of this implementation list.
India is about 5 years behind the 4G rollout targets (Dec 2010) and 2 years behind LTE 2.0. HD Voice and Video are not being talked about by the Indian industry leaders, despite the fact that India is one of the largest contributors to the overall revenue for the mobile industry.
Data and Future
India needs fast internet access, as a developing nation, its metropolitan cities need to be connected to the world. With a boom in startup culture and high paying jobs with international markets, most suffer due to lack of internet access. Video consumption and video calling with services like Skype, Google Hangouts and even FaceTime are at an all time high and consumers end up paying large sums of money just to say connected.
[pullquote_right]FUP has slowed down growth[/pullquote_right]
The biggest limiting factor in the whole telecom industry is the limited usage policies implemented by the companies. The limited usage policy or fair usage policy (FUP) was first implemented by Airtel and Tata Teleservices to prevent users for exploiting their internet connection speeds and downloading illegal materials from the internet.
The FUP has since not been removed and with no pressure from TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) this antiquated method continues to haunt each user.
Airtel is one of the biggest users of this aged method of policing the usage of high speed data and is also one who exploits its use the most to benefit in the long run. Airtel has annoying auto redirects (Smart Bytes) that transfer you to a buy page insisting that you buy additional data packs to continue on the fast speed. These packs are usually 4-5 times the cost of the bundled data and tend to really hurt consumers financially.
The world is getting connected, using a highway of data which is not only fast but also super efficient and budget friendly.
Unlimited data is one of the perks of a liberated growing economy. The current government showed success by choosing the internet as a means of communications with its potential voters. There are claims from our telecom ministers claiming that “India plays a crucial role in the future of the internet.”
However, we are no where near that future. Most operators globally offer the ability to choose a plan that suits the customers needs. The United States and countries like United Kingdom, Australia, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Canada and many others are not familiar with the term FUP. In fact, any form of throttling is against the law in many of these countries. Terming the so called limiting plans as “marketing gimmicks” countries have ensured that the consumer gets what he pays for, no more and especially no less.
Then there are packages from the likes of Google Fibre limited in reach and availability, Google has made possible speeds of upto 1000 Mbps for as little as US $ 70/month (chump change compared to what iGyaan spends for Internet) available at residences across the United States. They also offer a “Basic Plan” which is at 5 Mbps downloads and 1 Mbps uploads (unlimited) for a price of US $0 if you pay the installation fee. Free Internet! If that does not help the startup economy, then what else will?
Something needs to change
India and Indians deserve the ability to get unlimited internet, the users seem to be paying for it, but nobody seems to be getting it. Riddled by hidden corporate talk and contracts that fool the customers into believing that they are getting the best possible deal. Everybody has the right to stay connected, and a fast internet connection is more like a lifeline today.
Many sectors in the country do offer high speed data connections for a higher price. However, these too are controlled by limits, and speed drops are often too high. A 100 Mbps connection from Airtel Fibrenet drops to a mere 512 Kbps post a 100GB download. A simple math calculation will tell you that it takes just 2 Hours, 23 Minutes and 9.93 Seconds to download 100 GB on such a connection. Post the download you either have to pay heavy sums of money to get data packs or live with a devastatingly slow 512 Kbps which would take 19 Days, 10 Hours, 2 Minutes and 1.6 Seconds to download the same 100 GB. Airtel charges INR 5,999 + tax for this plan , making it well over US $100. Now compare this to Google’s 1000 Mbps line with no limits whatsoever, which costs US $ 70 /month.
Something needs to change and fast! Sign our petition below and be part of the voice of change. #StopFUP #EndFUP