Mobile internet usage in rural India to rise by 30% this year

As blogged earlier this week a report suggested China’s mobile Internet users may more than double within five years thanks to adoption and usage of smartphones.

Another day, another post but the same topic of increased mobile internet usage, this time in the world’s second largest nation India where a report is predicting internet usage in rural parts of the country will grow 30 percent (thanks to smartphones) this year alone.

From the Reuters article reporting the news:

The number of internet users in rural India is forecast to rise 30 percent to 5.4 million in 2010, according to a joint study conducted by the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and market research firm IMRB.

E-mail is the dominant purpose of internet access in rural India, the organisations said, adding that about 85 percent of the total rural users in 2009 accessed the internet for e-mails.

About 13 percent of the total rural internet users in 2009 scouted for latest farming techniques over the web, while 8 percent also used it to find more about fertilizers and pesticides, the organisations said.

Both this report and the previous article on China illustrate just how influential and important mobile internet usage, and smartphone ownership and competitive pricing, will be in enfranchising mass market citizens in Asia with the internet.

We’re not just talking social gaming and Facebook but information which can make a difference to lives and, potentially, help countries develop skills and understanding. Low-cost 3G devices and budget smartphone initiatives are key as the phone is critical to the user experience and thus the value the internet can give.