65% of Total Smartphones Shipped In India In Q1 2016 Were LTE Enabled [REPORT]

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The shipment of LTE-enabled devices in India is on a rise and, among all, smartphone rules the roost, according to Q1 2016 CMR India report. A whopping 15.8 million units of 4G/LTE devices were shipped in India and 97.9% of these devices were smartphones, accounting 15.46 million units. Data card shipments accounted for mere 1.5% of the total LTE devices shipped whereas the LTE enabled Tablet shipments recorded a decline, capturing just 0.6% of the total LTE devices shipped in the quarter.

Interestingly, another report by CMR inferred 23.6 million smartphone shipments in India in Q1 2016. Thus comparing these reports, we can decipher that among 23.6 million smartphones shipped in India in Q1 2016, 8.14 million were not LTE enabled. The country, these, still poses a huge opportunity for the non-LTE smartphones, generally tagged below Rs. 5000.

Samsung sits at the helm with 32% share of the total LTE device shipped in Q1 2016, followed by Lenovo at 13.4%. But it is Reliance LYF, the new entrant in the market, that has surprised many with 12.6% share of the total LTE device shipments. Besides, the promising Chinese smartphone manufacturer LeEco managed to capture 2.4% of the LTE device market share in India in Q1 2016.


Despite stiff competition, the slumping Micromax registered its presence in all three categories of the LTE devices. A total of 42 brands shipped their products in DataCards, Smartphones and Tablet category in Q1 2016. The quarter recorded a surge in LTE data card shipments and according to the report, Huawei is on the right track with 40% share of the total Datacard shipments in the first quarter.


In LTE enabled tablet segment, Samsung leads the way with 32% shipment share in Q1 2016, followed by Apple and iBall capturing 16% and 12% of the total LTE enabled tablet shipment, respectively.

“smartphone segment was the first and foremost to adopt the rising 4G adoption India but in the current scenario as multiple operators are banking on LTE we may see the rise in other LTE device segment as well,” says Faisal Kawoosa, Lead Analyst for Telecom department at CMR.

Highlighting the growth of LTE DataCard in India, he said that comparatively, the adoption rate of Data card has increased from the past year, in CY 2015, DataCard registered a tiny 1% of the total LTE devices shipped in India whereas an increase of 0.5% was garnered by DataCard in Q1 2016.

Krishna Mukherjee, the CMR analyst for Telecoms, highlighted the reasons why smartphone has dominated LTE market in India. He said that smartphone market has a potential in the country, therefore, every manufacturer is betting on Smartphone device and as a result, Tablet and DataCard shipments are declining to leave less option for consumers in these segments.


If we delve into the previous quarterly reports by CMR India, we can see the smartphone domination is unending in the LTE enabled device market. Of the 2.2 million LTE-enabled devices shipped in Q1 2015 in India, 97.1% were smartphones amounting to 2.13 million. Comparing the two reports (Q1 2015 and Q1 2016) on YoY basis, LTE enabled device shipments recorded a whopping 618.18% YoY growth in Q1 2016. The shipment of LTE smartphones in India also recorded a humongous 625.82% YoY growth in Q1 2016.

Rising LTE And Smartphone Penetration in India

India in spite of being the second largest smartphone market in the world still lags behind in smartphone penetration as only 17% of the population in India owns a smartphone. While the mobile penetration in India has already crossed 80%, a huge 83% of the population is still hooked with feature phones, resulting in setting up a huge window of opportunity for the blooming smartphone manufacturers. In 2016 smartphone shipments in India is expected to grow by 29% over the past year, compared to 7% YoY estimated growth in global smartphone shipments 2016.

The cut-throat competition in the Indian smartphone market is eventually becoming a boom for the end customers. To cut short competitions, smartphone manufacturers have flooded the market with low budget LTE smartphones in India. The entry level LTE enabled smartphone Reliance Jio LYF did a commendable job by securing the 3rd spot in the list of top LTE-enabled smartphone vendors in Q1 2016 accumulating 13% of the market share.

The growth of LTE-enabled devices is driven by smartphones as the growing adoption of Phablet devices is eating into the tablet market in India. According to CMR, Tablet market registered a mere 7% QoQ growth in shipments in Q1 2016 with 0.91 million units shipped in the quarter. A majority of the tablets sold belonged to the sub Rs 5K category and the rising Phablet market in the future will eat up the tablet market.


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