India’s internet revolution – how did it happen and which businesses benefited the most


India is a well-known country in the world due to its history, cuisine, and culture. The South Asian country has over 1,380,004,385 people, according to the UN’s 2020 data. There is a strong reason why manufacturers and brands want to sell products and services in the country. Indian is the fastest-growing and largest smartphone market in the world, and that’s why you got plenty of devices selling all the time. Internet is another reason why business is booming in India today.

How did India’s revolution happen?

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I have been an internet consumer for almost 14 years, and I have used the 2G, 4G, and Wi-Fi networks in India. Let me break down how the internet transformed India and changed the landscape from government initiative to private market competition in a decade.

India’s Internet Situation in 2008

Home internet users were limited in India due to several reasons, and I want to quote poverty being the biggest reason. The majority of the Indians live below the poverty line, and the rising prices of desktops & laptops made it a luxury piece of item to own in every household.

On the other hand, 2G started to emerge in India, but it was expensive per session. Many were paying Rs.1 for 100 KB data in 2008, which is expensive no matter how you cut it, and carriers were taking advantage of it as there was no competition back then.

Improvement in 2009 – 2016

Things started to change when Aircel launched in the market with 50 MB data for Rs.5 with one-day validity. In 2009, the mobile internet era begin, and it became cheaper to browse the internet. Later on, Tata Docomo offered similar data packages to the customers, and I have switched to Docomo since then. Almost every carrier continued offering cheaper mobile data to the customers due to the competition.

Cable Internet 2013 – 2018

I switched from mobile data to cable internet in 2013 because the ISP started to offer the services at a cheaper price point. Numerous local ISP’s quoted 512 kbps download speed for just Rs.350, and they later upgraded the plan to 5 Mbps without increasing the price in a few years.

Fast forward to 2021, I’m getting download speed up to 40 Mbps with 500 GB FUP for Rs.599, which is not a bad deal at all. Private ISP’s have upgraded the technology from DLL to Fiber cable technology in a few years.

Mobile Internet Revolution 2017 – Present

India went from offline to online on a larger scale starting in 2017, when Reliance launched 4G SIM cards for free. Consumers started to opt-in for the faster 4G mobile internet, and around the same time, Chinese manufacturers launched smartphones at a lower price point.

Millions purchased the free 4G plan from Reliance, and internet consumption increased tenfold within a few months. There is no doubt that 4G brought new opportunities to the country, but it also destroyed the structure in many ways. Several competitors started to file for bankruptcy within a few months because the income line started to decline due to the free offerings.

In 2021, we have to pay a certain amount to keep the mobile number active, and it’s a much bigger compensation, in my frank opinion.

Cable Internet Connection 2017 – Present

Private companies continued to expand the services in different parts of the cities, and it was slower in rural areas due to lack of demand. Nonetheless, I have witnessed the price go down for the package, which is good news for the internet consumers, who are looking to work from home.

Now, you can get faster internet speed under Rs.500 price point, and it is coming from a reputed ISP. My current ISP has solid customer care and engineers, who will show up within 12-hours to complain. I barely face server downtime and disconnections, and it has improved after a decade.

What businesses benefited the most from India’s Internet Revolution?

Social media consumption doubled in a few days after free 4G SIM cards were released in the public domain.

YouTube started to receive a higher number of visitors per day, and it has increased to the point, where T-Series is standing on the top position. T-Series is an Indian music company, and they have over 200 million subscribers, which is unbeatable at the moment.

Gaming is another business that has witnessed growth in the past four years, where streaming didn’t even exist. Now, Indians are tuning every day to watch PC and mobile gaming on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch.

Sports betting sites in India have witnessed a rise after India’s Internet Revolution.

I have learned a lot about Yoga, Ayurveda, and health education online, and never experienced such education during school & college academics.

Bottom Line

India’s internet infrastructure developed a lot in a short period and all thanks go to cheaper smartphones, cheaper mobile data services, affordable cable internet plans, and more. On the flip side, there were several repercussions due to the privatization and probably paying higher than before. Let us know your thoughts on India’s internet revolution in the comment section below.

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