The number of smartphone users in India will more than double in four years

More data, more video.
More data, more video.
Image: EPA/Divyakant Solanki
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Smartphone and internet usage in India is set to massively swell in the next four years.

By 2022, there will be 829 million smartphone users in India, accounting for 60% of the population, according to Cisco’s 13th annual Visual Networking Index (VNI). Until last year, a mere 27% of Indians were using smartphones.

Cisco’s predictions are based on independent analyst forecasts and real-world network usage data.

This increase in smartphone usage will fuel a massive uptick in internet traffic in the country, Cisco said. It estimates that by 2022, internet networks in India will carry 646 petabytes (1,000 terabytes or 1 million gigabytes) of data per day, which is over 490% higher than the 108 petabytes in 2017.

Overall, the connected devices ecosystem will grow to 2.2 billion in 2022 from 1.6 billion five years prior. Of these, smartphones are likely to account for 38%, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 15.5%, Cisco’s report said.

Smartphone data story

India’s mobile data consumption is going to skyrocket from 3.5 gigabytes (GB) in 2017 to 17.5 GB in 2022.

“By 2022, the smartphone data consumption will increase by 5X in India, which proves the dominance of smartphones as the communications hub for social media, video consumption, communications, and business applications, as well as traditional voice,” Sanjay Kaul, Cisco’s president for the service provider business in Asia Pacific, said in the press release.

With the proliferation of data usage, video-viewing—a favourite internet use case for Indians—will account for a larger share of all internet usage in the country, up from 58% in 2017 to 77% in 2022. The quality of streaming will improve, too.