India’s data consumption on OTTs surges 947% between March to July

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Covid-19 and the ensuing lockdown opened the flood gates in terms of demand for data as work from home (WFH) became a reality. In last roughly four-and-a-half months beginning March, India’s data consumption grew at a scorching pace with demand on OTT and VoD platforms rising by a whopping 947% compared to what it was in February, with indications that the rally is far from over.

According to Frankfurt-based internet exchange, DE-CIX, data consumption on OTT and video on demand (VoD) platforms rose by 249% during March and April, as against February 2020. During March to July 18, this demand rose multi-fold to 947%. For comparison sake, Nokia’s annual mobile broadband India traffic index (February 2020) puts average time spent on OTT platforms at 70 minutes per day.

DE-CIX India’s senior VP & national sales head, Sudhir Kunder said current shift in people’s personal and professional lives is here to stay.

On future data consumption, he said, “While I would not say that from July to October-November you will see another spike of 900%, but consumption patterns are going to remain the same because people’s lives have now started to revolve around this new lifestyle, of work from home”.

Ericsson’s mobility report (June 2020) projects average traffic per smartphone to hit 25 GB a month by 2025 with additional 410 million smartphone users expected to be added during the same time.

DE-CIX data reveals that gaming follows OTT and VoD, with consumption rising 555% between March and July 18 compared to February 2020. Even demand on content delivery networks (CDNs) rose significantly by 134% during April-July 18.

Frankfurt internet exchange is the world’s leading interconnection platform, managing over 9 terabits per second (Tbs) peak traffic. In India, it operates exchanges in Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata.

Kunder pointed out that demand for data is increasing every day, for instance, a leading telco in April sold around 4 lakh dongles. World’s largest independent cloud services provider, Linode agrees.

Linode India director (data centre & cloud operations), Ashwin Kumar said “First 2 weeks of lockdown saw demand spike almost 100%. That spike settled to a roughly 75% rise in utilisation. Enterprises like pharma and IT are deploying larger compute and storage plans. Significant demand came from Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Mumbai”.

On current scenario and what it means for internet exchanges, Kunder said, DE-CIX has prepared for the future and currently it can handle data traffic to the tune of 25 Tbs. It has already augmented its network, during February-March.

“We had this foresight which is bearing fruits. Today for any exchange to exchange, my traffic can flow at 250 Gigabits/sec and my traffic consumption hugely went up. We in India also touched 1-1.2 Tbs for sometime and then came down. We do anywhere between 740-980 Gigabits/sec. But network is ready for more,” he noted.

Going ahead, Kunder said next wave, which the Indian commercial space is watching is cloud. “Cloud adoption will see huge jump. From IT-ITeS standpoint, a lot of CIOs/CEOs have gone back to the drawing board and said that strategic investments that were to be made in some other spheres have now been re-drawn for quick adoption of cloud”.


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