The average data usage grew by 69 percent in 2018 to touch 10GB per user per month in December 2018, a new Nokia MBiT report revealed.
The increase in the consumption of data across the country led to the overall growth of data traffic by 109 percent with 4G technology constituting 92 percent of this growth, the report said.
A significant drop in data tariffs coupled with the availability of economical 4G devices led to the growth of the number of 4G subscribers by 137 percent. Further, the widespread migration of users from 3G to 4G devices also contributed to the increase in the consumption of 4G data traffic in the country, it added.
Sanjay Malik, Head of India Market, Nokia said: "The significant increase of data consumption in India is a positive development and will be a key factor in the overall social and economic growth of the country. The surge in broadband consumption is likely to continue in the next few years since the current broadband penetration is just 45 percent in the country."
"Further, the growth will be fueled by 4G network expansions as telcos enhance the coverage and provide better network experience to the end consumer. Going forward, the service providers will need to expand the 4G network and evolve their network infrastructure to support 5G in near future," Malik said.
The report also pointed out that this growth is led by the growing popularity of video streaming and video content in local languages on the various Over-The-Top (OTT) applications. The emergence of new media apps, like TikTok, has further led to an increase in video consumption. As the popularity of video streaming increases, the telcos will need to provide better coverage and capacity in the rural sector as well.
Other key findings of the Nokia MBiT Index study:
WhatsApp and Instagram are the leading social networking app among subscribers.
The 4G network rollouts will continue this year and the service providers will start preparing the networks for 5G to gain early mover advantage.
3G and 4G devices base grew by 1.2 times and 1.5 times respectively in 2018.
Cheaper data plans coupled with unlimited video streaming packages led to an unprecedented surge in video consumption.
OTT players have gained significantly due to operator tie-ups and aggressive 4G network expansion, with high consumption on their platforms.