Next Gen Telecom

What is the definition of 'an Internet User' & how should we access data?

I recently came across an quite interesting report by BCG. The report, ‘Internet’s Next Billion’ , does portray quite rosy picture of Internet users stats among BRICI countries, but it also raised few doubts in my mind over accessing data validity.

According to BCG report, there are 81 million Internet users in India, which amounts to 7{af589cdba9d77786c8c861317dbad60bba1e2ebbf56e2ffab874a1b59fde9ce3} Internet penetration in the country (2009). This data is based on clever definition made by BCG about ‘an Internet user’. According to BCG:

“An Internet user is defined by someone aged 2 years or older who went online in past 30 days”

And based on above definition, Internet penetration is calculated.

Now let’s go back to an older report, which I discussed earlier. This report, published by IAMAI, states that, there are 57 million claimed Internet users in India, in Sep 2008 (Urban). If you read it clearly, there’s huge difference in claimed & active Internet user base. The same report later claims that, there are only 17.9 million active Internet users, which is again somewhat hyped.

Why? Let’s talk about one more report, published by TRAI. According to TRAI, India has only 16.18 million Internet subscribers as per Mar 2010. An Internet subscriber is a person, who has officially subscribed an Internet connection at his Working/Home premises. And if you go by this stat, then India’s Internet penetration stands at <1{af589cdba9d77786c8c861317dbad60bba1e2ebbf56e2ffab874a1b59fde9ce3} overall.

Whereas, if you go by claimed Internet user definition or BCG Internet user definition, then  Internet penetration in India stands at 7{af589cdba9d77786c8c861317dbad60bba1e2ebbf56e2ffab874a1b59fde9ce3} of overall population.

The real question is; how much is India’s real Internet penetration? How many real Internet users are there in India? Should we stick to active user base definition, which is quite lower, as compared to claimed user base? Then where does BCG definition stand?

Real assessment should be valid, only if we stick to active Internet base stats or TRAI stats, which tells us quite different story than BCG stats. I may login into Internet and mayn’t come back again. Should I be called as an Internet user?

BCG knows it better!

Tags : BCG Group Internet ReportBoston Consultancy GroupInternet's Next Billion