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Summary:

When it comes to broadband, it seems Indians will increasingly use 3G wireless connections to access the Internet. At the end of the first quarter of 2011 there were 11.5 million wired broadband subscribers in India, a pittance versus the explosive growth in 3G connections.

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When it comes to broadband, it seems Indians will increasingly be using 3G wireless connections to access the Internet. Research from Telegeography shows that at the end of the first quarter of 2011 there were only 11.5 million wired broadband subscribers in India — a pittance given that broadband was first rolled out in 2003. In comparison, 3G growth has been explosive.

At the end of March 2011, there were 12.2 million 3G connections, even though 3G was first introduced in India in late 2009. 3G has become widely available in recent months as companies like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone have introduced their 3G services. Telegeography estimates that 3G subscriptions jumped 73 percent in the first quarter of 2011 (which ended on March 31, 2011).

In a conference call with analysts earlier this week, Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs noted that Indian operators “are making plans to increase 3G coverage from over 100 cities today to over 1,000 towns by the end of the year.” What that means is that 3G will become an increasingly important way to access the Internet. Jacobs pointed out that his company was selling chips to makers of affordable handsets and devices that are using HSPA+ technologies. Some of them, like Spice G-6550, cost as little as $90. The emergence of cheap 3G phones should provide a nice boost for Google’s Android OS ecosystem, a point we noted last year.

  1. Sir, it may be true that 3G connection has grown leaps and bound in Indai but the true condition or should I say speed and performance is still very poor. People may have 3G connections but they are still mostly using 2G as data connection. 3G may be working well in heart of main cities, but in other parts, its really bad. I myself live in the settalite city of Mumbai called Navi Mumbai and I have 3G connection, but 80% of times I only receive 2G connection. Same is with most the people I know. So this 3G connection statistic does not show the real picture.

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    1. That is true in the USA as well where we have had 3G for man years. I am supposed to have 3G coverage but I seem to be stuck on 2G more than half the time. Even in spots where the phone shows 3G the speeds may vary significantly. There are places where I get 3mbps on 3G and a tenth of that in other places.

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  2. 3g speeds make me want to cry -_-

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  3. Ronak Bhagdev Friday, July 22, 2011

    3G is way to costly in India. You can see a big jump in graph as BSNL, Vodafone and Airtel introduced 3G service in this period and they are rolling out 3G gradually in various regions. People are just trying out their trial/introductory plans. Moreover 3G speed is very poor in most parts of India!

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  4. You have to look it in terms of how many people in india have computers at home vs mobiles. Even in remote places people have mobiles, so pushing 3G to end consumers and making them use it is easy. Additionally the basic cost of 3G phone is negligible compared to a pc. For broadband even though the availability is there I guess there are hardly any taker in tier 2 or tier 3 indian towns, simply because people don’t need a computer in their house in the first place.Unlike this a mobile phone which is more or less of a necessity. All the 3G providers need to do is provide additional consumable content on these phones and make people want to use 3G, voice call being the prime example.
    I guess companies realizing this is a smart business strategy.

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  5. Hrushikesh Ghatpande Friday, July 22, 2011

    I read other comments about speed, though my experience is just the opposite. I’m using idea cellular in Pune (not even Mumbai) n on 3G I’m getting a file download speed of close to 700kBps (I’m not sure if its kbps or kBps but what I mean is the 1/8th speed of what they claim) also coverage is good at my home as well as college.
    My broadband takes me maximum up to 200kBps.
    The only problem I found with 3G is that the ping times r really bad. That’s why theres a lag in connection. But if u stream content or download stuff, its very fast.
    Finally, due to high cost, I jumped back to my good old 2G. :D

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    1. I thought the surfing speed is always 1/8 of maximum due to the way they ar represented! Its all in numbers. There are 8 bits in a byte. If you have a 8mbps connection (that’s 8,000,000 bits per second), your download speed in bytes per second is 1,000,000 bytes per second and so on

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  6. Wonder what happens if They cut the Price of iPhone 3gs from 20k to 10k.Boom…??

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    1. well, they will eat the htc/samasung smartphone market

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  7. Don’t be fooled. The exponential graph doesn’t show the true picture. A lot many companies have advertised 3G like mad and had given cheap introductory plans (as low as $16 / month for an Unlimited 3.6 Mbps 3G connection) which is being reflected in the graph. The truth is, 3G speeds in India hover several notches below to what’s promised. Also, the introductory plans are now over and there are things like speed caps and fair usage policies. I bet if someone makes a graph after a few months, it will definitely show a downward trend.

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  8. I don’t know from where the graphs are derived. It’s totally wrong. The broadband Internet connections are yet a luxury for many people. Most of the people are still with the low speed (they call it broadband still) internet connection like 256-512 Kbps.

    I have activated 3G Internet in my mobile for a month and disconnected. Just adjusting with 2G Connection I have. The rates are too high also the speed is so poor. It’s a question that why would we need such an expensive connection
    If you see
    http://www.airtel.in/Airtel-3G/tariffs.html

    For an average american, this cost could be something so low but here for an average Indian this is a luxury.

    the best plans are like 2GB for 750 INR. Each MB additional to that would cost approx 15 INR per MB. And it sucks in speed. It doesn’t distinguish between a normal 2G and 3G connection. We’ve to simply pay for what we’re using regardless the quality of service. Also only in major areas in the city only convered with 3G towers. Not really everywhere. And the same provider can’t provide any Internet while roaming. Only TATA DOCOMO and BSNL are having nationwide coverage.

    I have multiple devices and I need to have separate data plan for each devices. Which is not really feasible. The business model is so poor though the industry is in boom.

    It’s all hype. 3G simply sucks in India especially with the ridiculous business model.

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  9. Vijay Mukhi Sunday, July 24, 2011

    I stay in Mumbai India and we do not even have .5G forget about 3G speeds or broadband. I have connections from at least 6 different service providers which include MTNL, Tata ( both broad band and wireless) , Reliance , Vodafone etc and at times I have no internet access. 3G speeds are slower than 2.5G. All of us are waiting for 4G to arrive or someone who can give us fast reliable internet access, the existing players focus more on cost than quality of service.

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  10. English illiteracy so high in India that I would be very surprised if smartphone penetration crosses 15% mark in India even with a perfect 3G boom in India.

    An English illiterate Indian knows only a few basic buttons on a phone (numbers, call receive and call end), an English illiterate Indian needs a smartphone and apps in his own Indic language, he is usually poor because of his English deficiency and needs calculator kind of economy with smartphones (Phones below Rs. 2,000 ($ 40), and paid Apps below Rs. 20 ($ 0.40), which smartphones do not have now.

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