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With 402 mn internet users in India to surpass US by Dec 15

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New Delhi: India is expected to be the second biggest internet user base in the world by December 2015.  The number of internet users in India is set to touch 402 million mark, surpassing the US according to a report published by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB International on Tuesday.

This will make India the first free market democratic setup to have over 400 million users, surpassing the US with 280 million active users. China remains the leader of the market with 600 million internet users. India took over a decade to reach the 10 million users mark from 100 users as per the report. Although, within three years it reached the 100 to 200 million marks.

Demographics of internet users in India

The report also presents a gender segregated data, where, 71 percent of the internet users in India are males and 29 percent females. However, particularity in the urban area, the ratio of male to female Internet users stands at 62 to 38. The report also mentions a significant growth in women internet user base.

The rural India is seeing a boom in the internet use as the report suggests the total number of users are expected to touch 87 million by December 2015.

The smartphone penetration in the rural landscape has made sure that the userbase for the rural region will be on the upside with total number reaching 109 million by June 2016.

The report also shows data of a survey conducted for user expectancy growth, which reveals the willingness of people to use the internet. The non-internet users’ survey in 35 cities as part of this study, showed, 11.4 million non-users are eager to use the internet in the next one year and over 2/3rd of them aim to do so over mobile phones.

This rise is expected to benefit users as well economy as people becoming aware of the assistances of internet and e-commerce, there is great potential for growth. The IAMAI-IMRB survey was conducted across 35 cities with more than one million population.

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Is Internet Usage In India Calculated In A right Manner?

According to industry experts, the research methodology to derive the average number of Internet users would entail a large-format survey.

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According to Mohanty, Internet usage is calculated based on the number of people using Internet. Pixabay

If we look at government or independent research figures, Internet users in India are growing exponentially — currently hovering around 560 million and likely to cross 600 million by the end of the year.

According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), India has amn Internet subscriber base of nearly 560 million, including 482 million broadband subscribers – which means 43 per cent overall Internet penetration.

The country has 366 million Internet subscribers in urban locations and 194 million in rural areas, says the latest TRAI report that came out in December.

The “ICUBETM 2018” report from market research firm Kantar IMRB said this week that the number of Internet users in the country will reach 627 million by the end of this year.

The numbers are overwhelming but when it comes to the methodology behind deriving the average number of Internet users, there appears some gap.

For example, if a person in a family has 2 mobile numbers and he or she uses multiple devices for Internet access, how is that accounted for?

According to industry experts, the research methodology to derive the average number of Internet users would entail a large-format survey.

“Such a survey would typically cover 50,000 to 1,00,000 households in India, spread across urban and rural India, and covering all socio-economic classes (SEC) segments,” says Satya Mohanty, Head-User Research Practice, CyberMedia Research (CMR).

According to Mohanty, Internet usage is calculated based on the number of people using Internet.

“Therefore, if in one household, there are three people using one device PC/smartphone, then it is calculated as three users instead of one user,” he told IANS.

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The numbers are overwhelming but when it comes to the methodology behind deriving the average number of Internet users, there appears some gap. Pixabay

The average number of users derived from the sample survey is extrapolated to the total number of households in India to find out total number of users.

“For example, consider that the survey findings point to the average number of Internet users per household being 2.5. And, in India, there is 250 million households. Replicating the average figure of 2.5 with the total number of households, we have 625 million Internet users in India,” Mohanty elaborated.

According to Kantar IMRB, their latest “ICUBETM 2018” report covered over 70,000 individuals, selected through a sampling process across over 400 urban areas and more than 1,500 rural locations.

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“As data costs plummeted, more Indians than ever before are experiencing broadband for the first time on mobile”. Pixabay

“ICUBE members are of users and not subscribers. Thus people carrying multiple phones will be counted as a single user,” Biswapriya Bhattacharjee, Executive Vice President, Kantar IMRB, told IANS.

Similarly, Bhattacharjee added, a person using his or her spouses/parents’ phone for Internet access will also be counted as an Internet user.

One thing, however, is clear: the data usage is growing thanks to Reliance Jio, along with the increasing number of smartphone and entry-level feature phone users.

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“Jio has been a transformative force in enabling digital inclusion, by connecting the unconnected. Since its foray, Jio has achieved a remarkable feat of covering 95 per cent of India’s population with aggressive 4G network roll-out aided by innovative pricing strategy,” Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group, CMR, told IANS.

“As data costs plummeted, more Indians than ever before are experiencing broadband for the first time on mobile,” Ram added. (IANS)