It’s Time For India To Have Focused Approach Towards Domestic Mobile Handset Manufacturing Ecosystem And Telecom Patents

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India is the world’s second largest mobile handset market in terms of subscriber base. In 2010, Indian mobile handset market valuation stood INR 345 billion (US $7.5 billion) and it’s expected to grow with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.5% in 2010-13.  Indian mobile handset market valuation would reach INR 505 billion by 2013 and INR 812 billion by 2020.

Despite of this, India still relies on import of mobile handsets. In 2010, 90 million mobile handsets were imported in the country that had market value of INR 258 billion (US $ 5.6 billion). It’s expected that mobile handsets import will surge with a CAGR of 3.6% and it will reach 100 million by 2013.  Indeed, such a huge import of mobile handsets will affect domestic manufacturing ecosystem and of course, it’s not a good bode for local mobile handset vendors.

Till the end of July 2012, India had over 944 million telecom subscriber base and it’s also true that majority of them still own feature phone. In 2005, the country accounted for just 4.5% of the global mobile market share, rose to 11.1% in 2009 and now, it’s speculated to account for 13.4%  of the market by 2013.

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Average Selling Price Of Mobile Handsets In India:

Price is one of the most determining factors for the shipments of mobile handsets in India. People across the country are quite price-sensitive and that’s why, the penetration of smartphone is quite low here compare to the some other emerging markets. Average selling price of the mobile devices has steadily been declining since 2005 and it’s expected to reach INR 2,950 by 2020. Definitely, low average selling price is not lucrative for device manufacturers and if situation persists, then domestic mobile vendors will be deprived to generate pertinent profit margin on their devices. See the table (below) for further details…

Challenges For Indian Mobile Handset Vendors: 

There are lots of challenges for Indian mobile handset vendors including Infrastructure, domestic demands, security and more. There’s stranglehold of the global brands, while domestic brands are still struggling to grab the significant market share. Last year, Nokia was at the top with 31% market share in terms of shipments, followed Samsung with 15% and Micromax with 5%. Micromax is only domestic mobile vendors which has succeeded to hold dignified market share.

Numbers Of Patents Filed By Indian Telecom Sector:

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In India, expenditure on telecom research and development (R&D) is quite low compare to other sectors of economy. Just a few days before, I explained why India should focus on its telecom companies rather than to rely on the global companies. Ironically, there’s a lack of equipment manufacturers in the country. India just filed 1,465 patents in 2009, on the other, its neighbor China filed 12,337 patents in 2010—became the world’s fourth largest country in terms of patent application filled.

Task Ahead For The Country:

Undoubtedly, India needs to focus on its telecom infrastructure  and should build domestic mobile vendor-friendly environment. As number of mobile subscribers is increasing in the country, it’s going to create a huge opportunity for telecom and mobile handsets vendors. In addition to these, the adoption of “Value Added Services” (VAS) is also mounting up day-over-day.

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