‘Indians relying more on mobile broadband to work from home’

Considerable data growth during lockdown: Ericsson India

Amid increasing preference to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Indian consumers are relying more on mobile broadband as opposed to the global trend, where consumers are banking on fixed line networks, Nitin Bansal, managing director at Ericsson India, said.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Bansal said there had been changes in the network usage pattern during the nationwide lockdown and the company had seen a ‘considerable growth’ in data traffic globally and in India. “Almost all of us are working from home, so the traffic has shifted from the business areas to the residential areas. Most service providers reported about 10-20% growth in data traffic,” he said.

Mr. Bansal added that the average time spent on 4G increased by one hour globally. However, in India, the average time spent on 4G went up by 2.2 hours per day. “As opposed to the global trend, where consumers are relying on fixed line networks, Indian consumers are relying more on mobile broadband,” he noted.

Pointing out that since the first phase of lockdown, it became very evident that connectivity was essential, and this was going to be the new normal in one form or the other, he said “India has always been number one when it comes to mobile data consumption. The demand will continue to increase.”

Asked about how the COVID-19 crisis is expected to impact investments in networks by operators, Mr. Bansal said investment was directly proportional to the needs or requirements. “So, the expectation is that the investments will continue because there is a need. And there is a need which can be monetised. So, we do not see the need going away. In which case, whatever investments need to be done, will have to be done.”

He stressed that in the “new normal”, the importance of 5G cannot be ignored. “Countries and enterprises that had invested in 5G before COVID-19 have benefited from the technology and its possible use cases. In this context I would say that preparing for 5G is really important. It is essential for operators to ensure that whatever investment that they are doing is towards being 5G ready.”

Further, he added that going forward there will be an increased focus towards managed operations and creating more efficiencies within the network through introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. “I think the operators will also look at Private LTE or Private Networks to capture the enterprise business potential,” he said.

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