Digital India History – A Brief History of Net(1995-2020)

Facts Feature Timeline

Internet in India began in 1986 but it was available only to the educational and research community until 1995. On August 15, 1995, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) launched public Internet access in six cities of India through telephone connection. At that time people should pay at least for 100 hours with the per hour payment of Rs 35. As of 2020, India has over 500M active internet users.

1995Launch of Internet services by VSNLThe history of internet in India started with launch of internet services by VSNL on 15 August 1995, the 48th anniversary of Indian independence.
1995First Cyber Café in IndiaIn November 1995,India’s Cyber Café opened at The Leela Kempinski hotel in Mumbai through which hotel guests as well as outsiders can surf the Net along with a cup of coffee. The CyberCafe was launched by Pritish Nandy. It charged Rs 800 per hour. In December 1995,a similar Cyber Café called Cyber Club was opened at the Maurya hotel in New Delhi.
1996First Domain Name register in India India (NASDAQ: REDF listed in 2000) is a leading news, information, entertainment, and shopping portal.
1997India’s largest job portal is is an Indian job search engine operating in India founded by Sanjeev Bikhchandani in March 1997
1997First online banking siteICICI Bank launched ‘Infinity’ , the first Indian Internet banking service.
1997Hotmail SoldSabeer Bhatia’s Hotmail sold to Microsoft for $400 million in USA ; he becomes the poster boy of the Internet age to Indians
1998First Private Internet Service ProviderIndia introduces new Internet Service Provider policy which ends VSNL’s monopoly on internet. Sify(NASDAQ:SIFY) becomes India’s first private ISP.
1999India’s largest online news portal launchedIndiatimes webportal launched by India’s leading newspaper Times of India
2000First Hindi PortalWebdunia, India’s first and one of the most successful Hindi portal launched
2001First online railway ticket booking portalIndian Railways launches online tickecting site E-commerce in India rises after the success of IRCTC held an initial public offering on the National Stock Exchange on 30 September 2019.
2003First Airline Booking PortalAirDeccan becomes first airlines to offer online ticketing in India
2007India’s largest online megastore Flipkart startedIndia’s largest e-commerce website started in October 2007 by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal.
2010MakeMyTrip Blockbuster IPO in the USIn August 2010, India’s largest online travel company, MakeMyTrip was listed on NASDAQ. A blockbuster IPO in the US, where on the first day of listing, the MakeMyTrip stock closed 89% up, the best listing in the US since the pre-recession year of 2007.
2010Paytm foundedPaytm was founded in August 2010 with an initial investment of $2 million by its founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma in Noida. As of December 2019, SoftBank and Alibaba backed Paytm is the leading Indian unicorn and Asia’s most valuable tech unicorn outside of China.
2011World’s third largest Internet consumer countryIn December 2011, India became world’s third largest Internet consumer country with over 121 million users .
2012Great Online Shopping FestivalIndia got its own version of the Cyber Monday called “Great Online Shopping Festival” on 12 December 2012. Google India had partnered with many of e-commerce companies including Flipkart, Snapdeal, Homeshop18, IndiatimesShopping, and MakeMyTrip.
2013India’s Biggest Online Bus Ticketing Company AcquiredIbibo, owned by South African investment firm Naspers, acquired Redbus for $138 Million (Rs.780 Crores) in June 2013.
2013Internet in IndiaInternet subscribers in India touched 238.71 Million in 2013
2013Number of ISPs in IndiaThere were 161 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offering broadband services in India as of 31 May 2013. The top five ISPs in terms subscriber base were BSNL (9.96 million), Bharti Airtel (1.40 million), MTNL (1.09 million), Hathway (0.36 million) and You Broadband (0.31 million).
2014India’s Largest E-commerce DealFlipkart acquired, India’s largest online fashion retailer at more than $300 Million (200 Crores Rupees). It was the largest – ever deal in the country’s e-commerce market at that time.
2014Second Largest Mobile User baseIndia is the second-largest mobile phone user with over 900 million users in the world, after China
2014Largest Fund-raising by an Indian Internet FirmIndia’s largest e-commerce company Flipkart has raised $1 Billion (about Rs. 6000 Crores Rupees) in funding, the largest ever for an Indian internet firm at that time.
2015India’s first e-commerce IPOInfibeam became India’s first E-commerce company to file an IPO, in July 2015. Infibeam is listed on the BSE and the NSE.
2015Jio launchedJio soft launched on 27 December 2015 with a beta for partners and employees, and became publicly available on 5 September 2016. As of 31 December 2019, it is the largest mobile network operator in India and the third largest mobile network operator in the world with over 387.5 million subscribers.
2016India’s first software-security firm IPOQuick Heal Technologies Ltd, is an Indian Antivirus software and IT security services company, headquartered in Pune, India. In 2016, Quick Heal Technologies launched its IPO and is listed on the BSE & the NSE.
2016World’s second-largest internet marketIn September 2016, China is by far the largest internet market in the world with 721m users, but India had overtaken the US to become the world’s second largest market with 333m userbase.
2016World’s second largest smartphone marketIndia is now the second largest smartphone consumer by overtaking the U.S.
2016The Rise of Digital Payments in IndiaIndia’s digital payments landscape saw a boom after demonetisation in November 2016, when 86% per cent of the total value of banknotes was discontinued overnight.
2018MX Player AcquisitionMX Player was acquired by Times Internet, the digital arm of Indian media firm Times Group, for $140M on Jan 24, 2018.
2018Walmart  Flipkart Deal
Walmart acquires Flipkart for $16 billion in one of the world’s largest ecommerce deal.
2019World’s second-largest population of monthly active internet users countryIndia has second-largest population of monthly active internet users. India had 451 million monthly active internet users as on 31 March 2019, which is second only to China’s 800 million+ user base.
2019World’s third largest startup ecosystemIndia continues to reinforce its position as the third largest startup ecosystem across the world, as it added over 1,300 startups in 2019, taking the total number to 8,900-9,300 in the last five years
2019World’s third largest hub for unicornsIndia is home to 3rd largest number of unicorns in the world after US and China.
2020Facebook-Jio dealFacebook Invests $5.7 Billion in India’s Jio Platforms, takes 9.99% stake.
2020Jio Google dealGoogle is investing $4.5 billion in India’s mobile internet giant Reliance Jio and the investment gives Google a 7.7% stake in Jio Platforms.