If you thought you were the only one who finds the 3G services offered by Airtel/ Vodafone/ *Insert name of your operator here* useless, think again. According to an Ericsson consumer insight report released in New Delhi on Tuesday, 48 percent of mobile Internet users in India are unable to perceive any difference between 2G and 3G Internet services.
You can call them silly or foolish, given the huge difference between 2G and 3G Internet on paper, but the ground reality in India - especially if you live in major cities like Delhi and Mumbai - is completely different. 3G services are highly unreliable, and you can forget about getting any connectivity at an indoor gathering of any respectable size. Switch back to 2G or EDGE, but there are already enough users vying for that bandwidth, so it's unlikely to be of any help. So, in that sense, the experience of using both 2G and 3G Internet is often the same, in that neither works.
Telcos have failed to expand their networks to keep pace with the rate at which mobile broadband users are getting added in India. According to Ericsson, one in three people are now using smartphones in urban India. However, 68 percent of mobile Internet users experience session failures and lengthy loading times while outdoors and 63 percent face quality and reliability issues indoors.
A summary of the report, which includes more stastics on what people are doing with their Internet-connected smartphones, is available on the Ericsson website.
Ericsson surveyed 15,000 urban households in 33 cities, conducting 4,500 face-to-face interviews with smartphone mobile Internet users in households across these cities. The company claims to have conducted "in-depth interviews" with 50 "urban smartphone Internet users." The interviewees were aged between 15 and 75.