The number of mobile Internet users in India is expected to nearly double and hit 165 million by March 2015, up from the present 87 million mobile surfers, according to a recent survey.

The report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), which was released on Wednesday, attributed the rise to increased bandwidth on mobile networks and cheaper availability of internet-enabled cellular phones.

“The number of users increased to 87.1 million by December 2012 from 78.7 million users in October 2012, which is expected to further grow to 164.8 million by March 2015,” the study said. Of the 78 million users , 61 million were off-deck users (accessing all websites), and 15 million were on-deck users (accessing operator-specified websites).

While the news is expected to be good news for India’s nascent mobile advertising industry, which is estimated as 5 to 7 per cent of the total advertising sector, the report said that the average monthly bill of a user is Rs. 460.

Of this, however, spending on Internet services is only Rs. 198, roughly 45 per cent of what the average user spends.

Healthy trend

“This is a very healthy trend as it shows the willingness of the users to spend nearly 45 per cent of the bill towards Internet access. The rest is spent on voice services,” the report said.