The above graph represents the yearly distribution of the total number of mobile data subscribers in India by Network type – 2G, 3G, 4G and CDMA. The number of wireless data subscribers in India reached an all-time high of 578.2 million by the end of 2018. Interestingly, a whopping 75.4% of them are hooked to the 4G network, followed by 2G and 3G. As the graph shows, between 2017 and 2018, about 197.8 million new mobile subscribers were connected to the 4G network.

RegionIndia
SourceTelecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
Last Updated01 October 2019
Graph ID498
Duration2014 – 2018

The total number of 4G data subscribers in India increased 5X, from just 86.7 by the end of 2016 to 436.1 million by the end of 2018.

On the other hand, the number of 2G, 3G and CDMA data subscribers in India showed a declining trend after the introduction of 4G (LTE) technology in 2016 at affordable rates on a PAN-India scale.

India had over 214.7 million 2G data subscribers at the end of 2014, which declined to 151.5 million at the end of 2016. Surprisingly, by the end of 2017, India recorded a whooping 47% YoY declined in its number of 2G data subscribers, stood at only 79.8 million.

Similarly, the number of 3G data subscribers in India declined from 105.4 million at the year ending 2017 to the lowest 70.6 million at the year ending 2018. However, the country witnessed a significant increase in the adoption of 3G technology on mobile devices during 2014-2016. At the end of 2014, there were only 60.9 million 3G data users in India, which increased to a record 127.2 million at the end of 2016.

As of December 2018, only 0.0001 million mobile subscribers in India are hooked to the CDMA network, as per the TRAI data. At the end of 2015, India recorded its highest-ever volume of 10.1 million CDMA data users. However, in just one year, the country witnessed a massive decline of 80% YoY in the number of CDMA users.

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.

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