Mobile Data Subscribers Growth in India by Network Type: 2014 – 2018

The above graph represents the yearly growth of the mobile data subscribers in India by network type – 2G, 3G, 4G and CDMA. By the end of 2018, India reported over 578 million mobile data subscribers. Out of that, over 75% of them are hooked to the 4G network. The total number of 4G data users in India increased from 238.3 million by the end of 2017 to 436.1 million by the end of 2018, representing a whopping 82.98% YoY growth.

SourceTelecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
Last Updated01 October 2019
Graph ID499
Duration2014 – 2018

It was February 2014 when Airtel launched the 4G services on mobile for the first time in Bangalore, India. By the end of 2016, India had about 86.7 million 4G data subscribers. Surprisingly, after one year, the number of 4G data subscribers increased an astonishing 174.95% YoY, totalling 238.3 million by the end of 2017.

This huge year-over-year growth of 4G data subscriber base can be attributed not only to new subscribers but also to shifting of mobile subscribers from 2G/3G/CDMA network to the 4G network.

The graph shows a constant decline in the number of 2G data users in India in the last 5 years. India reported nearly 10.58% YoY decline in its number of 2G data subscribers, from a whopping 214.7 million at the end of 2014 to 192 million at the end of 2015. Surprisingly, at the end of 2017, only 79.8 million Indians found hooked to the 2G data network. That’s a huge 47.32% Yoy decline.

On the other hand, the number of 3G data subscribers in India increased a whopping 67.24% YoY to 101.4 million by the end of 2015. After witnessing a significant 25.5% YoY growth in 2016, the number of 3G data users in India started declining, due to the increasing adoption of 4G technology. With a 33% YoY decline, the total number of 3G data users in India hit a record low (70.6 million) by the end of 2018 – that’s even less than the total number of 2G data users (71.5 million) during the same period.

India’s Telecom Industry: Additional Information

India is currently the second-largest country in the world in terms of the number number of mobile subscribers and internet users. While the penetration of internet users in India is still moderate, mobile phone subscribers have almost hit the saturation point with 80% penetration.

The Telecom industry in India is going through consolidation after the debut of Reliance Jio. The government-backed BSNL is struggling and is almost on the verge of collapsing. On the other hand, in order to compete with Reliance Jio that has taken the industry by the storm with its future-ready network, all the top players have shaken hands.

Airtel and Tata Docomo merger paved the way for other companies struggling with declining ARPU and mobile subscriber base. Soon, Vodafone and Idea followed the footmarks and merged together to become the largest telecom provider in India. The celebration, however, was short-lived as Reliance Jio leapfrogged Vodafone Idea by the end of June 2019.

The telecom market in India is divided into three segments – wireless, wireline and internet services.

The above graph is a part of Dazeinfo GraphFarm – the most trusted source of hundreds of thousands of market graphs. Our team of researchers mines millions of data points every month to bring the most updated and validated set of data points representing the comprehensive view in a graphical format. From mobile to e-commerce, from Retail to healthcare, from startups to SMEs we have carefully designed thousands of graphs for those who value and understand the importance of data visualisation.