The number of 5G subscribers in India is expected to remain far lesser than expected earlier.
In the June issue of Ericsson Mobility Report, the Swedish media and telecommunications company projects 2.8 billion 5G subscribers worldwide by 2025. The figure is counter to the decrease in 5G adoption internationally as a result of the pandemic. However, the contribution of India to the global 5G revolution seems quite disappointing as 18 million 5G subscribers in India by 2025 itself speaks about the country’s approach to the deployment of 5G network. Neither India’s telecom ministry nor the major telecom operators also have shared a street map for 5G installation.
Even though 5G trials were held with a great deal of excitement past year, the downturn fizzled in the face of financial crunch and outbreak of the pandemic. Patrik Cerwall, Executive Editor of the Mobility Report, expects spectrum auction to 5G in India to occur sometime in 2021.
Earlier, various reports claimed that Indian consumers are prepared to pay as much as 15% premium for 5G services. In the present situation, the first deployment of 5G in India is expected to happen not before 2022 but the ramp-up might be quicker than 4G in certain circles.
5G Subscribers in India: Negligible Contribution
Ericsson also estimates that the number of 5G subscribers worldwide is estimated to reach 190 million by the end of 2020. By 2025, it estimated that to touch 2.8 billion 5G subscribers around the globe. Clearly the contribution of India to the growth 5G revolution is no less than a disappointment considering the world’s second-largest mobile and smartphone market is estimated to account for less than 1% of the worldwide 5G subscriber base by 2025.
Ericsson Mobility Report 2020, published every month, is the 18th yearly edition from the company. It not only highlights the importance of 5G cellular telephony but the resilience of present networks. Cerwall observed that the network traffic loads shifted from city centres to suburban areas as people started working from their home.
Spike in Internet Traffic
Whether it’s India, the United States of America or France or South Africa, all eyes are set on increasing traffic. As a result of COVID-19 lockdown, Ericsson estimated that internet traffic spiked from anywhere between 20% and 100%. This surge in traffic was mostly absorbed by the shuttle network. However, in India, the same was not true because fixed broadband penetration is much lower than mobile broadband. There are 681.11 million broadband subscribers in India, and wireless account for nearly 96% of it.
On the positive front, Ericsson states that mobile internet users in India are spending more time using 4G than their international counterparts.
“Throughout the lockdown, the typical time spent 4G increased by one hour globally. Nevertheless, in India, the time spent 4G went up by 2.2 hours per day,” the company stated.
The report also highlights that 49% of those mobile users in India were using 4G networks at the end of 2019. The number is very likely to have gone up with broader accessibility to 4G and availability of more affordable 4G devices in the marketplace.
By growth, Ericsson is not only referring to downlink but also uplink. It notes that since consumers are using services such as Zoom for binaural discussions, there’s been a growth in uplink rate as well. Ericsson Mobility Report also asserts that consumers trust telecom operators over technology giants in this outbreak. This throws a new landscape for the industry, which has for long been regarded as a market where customers are utilized for cash but the service has often been bad.