Jan 022012
 
English: Active Internet Users Using Internet ...

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It’s estimated as many as 121 million Indians are logged onto the internet.

It is a sizeable number, but still a relatively small proportion of the country’s 1.2 billion population.

Predictions suggest the ways Indians use the internet for business and pleasure will change even further in the next year.

“Soon, there’ll be more mobile phones than people in India,” jokes Ankur Agarwal, the editor of the Indian gadget blog onlygizmo.com.

In his cramped office in a Mumbai suburb, he is surrounded by boxes filled with the latest technology ready to be reviewed and tested.

Many of the boxes contain the latest smartphones, waiting to be launched onto the Indian consumer.

Mr Agarwal’s assertions about the Indian phone population might seem outlandish when you think there are 1.2bn people living in the country, but with mobile phone use rocketing, it’s a prediction that could come true in the not too distant future.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India estimates that there will be an additional 200 million new mobile subscribers in the coming year.

According to research aggregated by wearesocial.net, there are more than 898 million mobile subscribers in India, 292 million of these living in rural areas.

The same data showed that 346 million Indian mobile users had subscribed to data packages, with more than half of all internet users in the country accessing the web via their mobile phone.

“The mobile phone will drive internet use in India in 2012,” says Mr Agarwal. “Computing begins with the mobile and its growth is fast in India.”

He believes that the increase in smartphone and internet capable phones, selling below Rs5,000 (£61; $94)and built by Indian manufacturers, is making it easier and more affordable to own such devices.

The increase in uptake of 3G and 2G services in India will also help get more people online. However, there are still issues getting this kind of connectivity into remote areas.

Even when it is available, the cost is prohibitive to many.

$50 tablet

Other portable devices could also make an impact when it comes to Indians accessing the internet.

The government plans to roll out its low-cost tablet device, known as Aakash, into schools nationwide in 2012. Costing around $50, it has been hailed as a huge innovation for India and the way the web can be accessed in schools.

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