Mobile phone usage in India

04th October 2009
Mobile phone usage in India

Integrated online market research company Juxt has just released what is arguably one of the most representative* survey-based estimates of mobile phone users in urban and rural India and a comprehensive profiling of urban mobile users - in their demographics, psychographics  and usage.
We bring you, courtesy Juxt, the key findings of the report: “India Mobile 2009: Understanding Mobile Phone users in India and their mobile usage behavior and preferences”.For further details contact Sanjay Tiwari  or visit the website  

Demographics • While almost half of all urban Indians are mobile, only 1 in 10 rural Indians are mobile.
• 25-35 years is the single largest mobile user age group. However, 19-24 years ones show the highest ‘penetration’ as well as the highest ‘propensity’ to own mobile phones.
• Only 1 in 5 mobile Indian is a woman.
• While 1 in 3 Indian men are mobile, only 1 in 10 Indian women are
• North zone is the single largest mobile region, though mobile penetration is highest in East zone.
• 2 out of 3 mobile users are ‘unmarried singles’ – when almost half of all Indians are married.
Students form the largest occupational group of mobile users, followed by self-employed
• Average monthly household income of mobile user is 2.3 times that of mobile non-users.

A ‘topsy-turvy’ consumer pyramid? SEC ( Socio-economic class) ‘C’ is the largest socio-economic groups of mobile users, followed very closely by SEC ‘B’. Interestingly, SEC ‘E’ forms almost as big a base of mobile users as SEC ‘A’. SEC ‘B’ and ‘A’ are the most mobile penetrated SEC groups . Ironically, SEC ‘R1’, comprising the most affluent rural Indians, is less penetrated than SEC ‘E’, the poorest urban Indians

The Players: Reliance GSM has the most ‘male’ skew in the user base, Spice the least.Reliance, Tata Indicom and MTNL have relatively more ‘mature’ user profiles in age. BSNL, Idea, Spice and Aircel have relatively higher proportion of their users coming from smaller ‘tier 4’ districts. Tata Indicom, Reliance CDMA and Vodafone have relatively more coming from biggest ‘tier 1’ districts.

Aircel has the highest relative ‘rural’ skew in its user base, followed by Reliance GSM and Spice. BSNL, Reliance CDMA and Tata Indicom have the highest relative ‘urban’ skew.
MTNL, BSNL and Loop Mobile have the highest proportion of SEC ‘A’ and ‘B’ among their user base. MTNL and Loop Mobile ones are the relatively most well-off in terms of (claimed) incomes .

Technographics and aspirations The mobile phone tops the urban mobile user’s list of ‘absolute necessities of life’. More of them associate ‘role of technology’ with ‘entertainment’ than with ‘socialization’. They associate TV more with ‘entertainment’ and ‘mobile phone’ more with ‘staying connected’
1 in 4 is a ‘gadget freak’ and 1 in 5 looks for ‘style’. 1 in 4 mobile user is a ‘trend chaser’
Only 1 in 6 buys ‘proactively’ to upgrade products/lifestyle, rest are ‘reactive’ buyers
1 in 10 gives highest importance to ‘price’ and 1 in 5 to ‘brand image’
‘Money’ is the top current priority of more of them. ‘Education’ & ‘Family’ come 2nd and 3rd
They are highly ‘realistic’ in their desires. More of them will settle for: a monthly family income of Rs. 25,000, a small car, a saving bank balance of Rs.1 lakh and an assured retirement income of Rs.10,000 a month

Mobile Service Usage
2 out of 3 urban mobile users also have a landline phone at home
Average ‘mobile connections’ per urban household is 4.3 while in rural households it is 1.7
93% of the currently ‘most used’ connections are ‘prepaid’, with almost half bought from an MBO
1 in 5 uses internet on mobile (WAP/GPRS/EDGE). Over half of all ‘mobile internet users’ go online daily
1 in 5 mobile users banks or pay bills using their mobile
2/3rd have used the 5/10 digit short codes, most in response to reality shows on TV
4 out of 5 mobile users are either open, or neutral, to receiving ads on their mobile phones
30% have registered on DND/DNCR list. But over 50% of them still receive ad/solicitation calls

Handset usage
85% active mobile handsets have a ‘color screen’, only about 5% a ‘touch screen’ .
3 out of 4 mobile users ‘play games’ on their mobile handsets. Listening to FM radio is the second most popular non-communication activity on mobiles.
Only half bought their current handset from their own money, 1 in 5 got it as a ‘gift’ .
Over half have bought their handsets at an MBO, only 1 in 8 bought it ‘bundled’ with their connection.
Camera quality, price, battery life and sound clarity are the most important features looked at while purchasing the handset.

*Note: Juxt’s estimates are based on a sample data of almost 285,000 urban and rural Indians, covering all states & union territories, 574 districts, 3,175 towns and 2,800+ villages in India. At least 30 plus sample from 323 districts and 419 towns, and 100 plus sample from 184 districts and 155 towns make it one of the most ‘representative’ enumerative studies on mobile phone user-ship in India. Demographic findings are based on 178,500 mobile users. Psychographic and mobile usage findings are based on two 12,000+ sample surveys conducted separately online between June-July 2009