In recent times, the pace of internet connections increasing in India has dwindled, and the sales of smartphones have dropped as well. This will impact the digitization programmes. There is a glaring difference between men and women, and rural and urban areas, as far as smartphone and internet connections are concerned. There are around 1 billion mobile phone users in the country, 1/3rd out of whom have normal phones.
Fresh statistics reveal that these phones will not be upgraded anytime soon. Leaving out some users, all the other users remain online using their phones, despite this, the number of broadband connections is almost stable. As per the currently available numbers, there were 79 crore broadband connections in India in October 2022, which were just a tad bit more than August 2021’s 78 crore 90 lakh connections. The number of subscribers is even less because many people have more than one connection.
As per market-research company IDC, after a constant increase for 10 years, the sale of smartphones reached its hike in 2021 at 16 crore 10 lakh units being sold. Last year, this number fell down to 14 crore 80 lakh units. In the meanwhile, the price of an average smartphone hiked from 13 thousand rupees to 17 thousand 900 rupees in 2022. Navakendra Singh from IDC has said that even manufacturers do not have profits in selling very cheap phones.
The market share of phones priced less than 8 thousand rupees fell from 30% in 2019 to only 12% in 2022. Prior to the pandemic, around 50 lakh people used to switch from using normal phones to smartphones every month. Counterpoint Analyst Shilpi Jain says that last year, the number fell down to 30 lakh people. The expenses of a mobile phone have augmented as well. Till June 2022, there was a 28% increase in subscriptions.
Due to the differences between mobile phone and internet services, excellent initiatives to improve the governmental framework through digitization can get impacted adversely. Apar Gupta from Internet Freedom Foundation said that the digitization programme should be evaluated keeping in mind an average Indian.