Mobile Nearly Outstrips Desktop in India

“The mobile phone will drive internet use in India in 2012. Computing begins with the mobile and its growth is fast in India.” — Ankur Agarwal, Editor of, via BBC

Mobile Internet use is on the rise, and desktop Internet use is on the decline in India — and experts think that the lines will cross sometime this year. New research from StatCounter shows that more Internet traffic will come from mobile devices than desktop computers in India very soon — possibly even this year.

The cost of desktop Internet is more than many Indians can afford, and infrastructure limits the availability of Internet to rural areas, so the best and cheapest alternative is to use mobile. Widespread access to 2G and 3G allow more Indian mobile users to access the web on their phones.

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And with 4G on the rise (and now available in Calcutta), India could see increased Internet access and more adoption in the coming year. In January, the BBC reported that there could be 200 million new mobile subscribers in 2012, according to The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. That’s in addition to the current 898 million mobile subscribers — which would mean a 20 percent growth for mobile in just one year.

India’s population is now 1.2 billion people. If it did see 200 million more mobile subscribers this year, then the mobile penetration would be nearly 92 percent, or 1.1 billion mobile users.

Of the current mobile subscribers, 346 million can access the Internet — or 39 percent. That number drops to 121 million users on traditional desktop Internet. And Indians who have already adopted mobile use it for everything. Check out this look at Indian mobile life from DNA India:

Digital media professional Sarita Pandey has been using a Blackberry since 2007, and she depends on it for nearly everything that she does in a day. “This is where I read all my mails, respond to 50% of the office mails. I check news, and use it for checking out local restaurants and movie theatres. I check movie ratings online and book tickets too,” she said. Facebook and Twitter, of course, remain on all through the day. —DNA India

The article also says that 94 percent of Indian smartphone users go online every day (compared to 88 percent in the U.S.). And Indian smartphone users are more likely to check email and engage in social media with their smartphones than U.S. mobile users.

What other global areas are seeing large mobile growth? Stay tuned to the Torsion Mobile blog for more global insights and statistics.