Usage of 3G services in India more than doubled in 2013, exceeding the
global average, Nokia Solutions and Networks said in a report on
"3G services in India have surpassed the world average in
terms of growth. However, there are still gaps in 3G coverage even in
the top 50 towns. Filling of those network coverage gaps can take up 3G
penetration dramatically," NSN's Vice President and Head of India Region
Sandeep Girotra said in New Delhi.
According to NSN, 3G data
usage in India rose to 21 petabytes at the end of December from 8
petabytes at the end of December 2012. One petabyte is equal to 1,024
terabytes. The world average is roughly doubling every year, it said.
traffic generated by 2G and 3G services combined grew 87 percent in the
country in 2013, driven largely by strong growth in the faster 3G data,
the study said.
NSN's Mobile Broadband India Traffic study showed
that customers in India consumed an average of 532MB of 3G data every
month, up 23 percent from 434MB in 2012.
The average consumption by 3G users was more than three times that of 2G consumers, which stood at 146MB per month.
year, 3G continued to be the main contributor to data growth and
increased its share to 43 percent of total mobile data from 33 percent
The active 3G customer base grew by 50 percent. The study
estimates the number of 3G customers in the country at about 30 million
at the end of December 2013 compared with 20 million at the end of
Girotra said there are about 80,000 mobile towers that
transmit 3G signals, accounting for 30-40 percent of coverage in the
country and there can be a dramatic increase if
coverage goes up to 70-80 percent. India has about 450,000 mobile towers providing 2G services, Girotra said.
in the top 50 cities by mobile traffic, many cities are not fully
covered by 3G and require an additional 20-25 percent of existing sites
for coverage," Girotra said.
With 4G technology maturing, telecom operators are now looking to deploy 3G equipment that can be upgraded.
expect 3G to be mainstream mobile Internet service for at least 2-3
years, after which we will see a mix of 4G and 3G. 2G, too, will
continue in the country," Girotra said.
NSN at present manages
about 160,000 mobile towers in the country. The network managed by the
company handles traffic of about 280 million active customers.