5G Mobile Subscriptions in India: 330 Million by 2026, But 4G Would Dominate [REPORT]

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It’s the dawn of the 5G era in India as leading telecom companies have already started public testing of their 5G mobile services in India. A new report from Ericsson highlights few key trends about 5G adoption and 5G mobile subscriptions in India for the years to come.

The 20th edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report estimates 330 million 5G subscriptions in India by 2026.

The number clearly indicates that India, the second-largest country by the number of mobile users, is at the cusp of the 5G revolution now. As telecom companies and smartphone manufacturers both are going hand in hand to push the 5G adoption in India, the number of 5G subscribers will start increasing after the commercial rollout of the 5G service in India at the beginning of the next year, soon after the government approves spectrum sale.

5G Subscriptions in India: Bigger Picture

  • Globally, more than 580 million mobile subscriptions will be running on 5G network.
  • By the end of 2026, 5G will represent 26% of the total number of mobile subscriptions in India.
  • With the increasing number of smartphone users, the data consumption by each mobile phone user is also going up. Ericsson Mobility report highlights that between 2019 and 2020 the average traffic per smartphone user in India has increased from 13GB to 14.6GB per month.
  • India ranks second in terms of the highest data consumption per smartphone user every month, trailing behind China.
  • The commercial rollout of 5G services from the beginning of the next year will have a direct impact on the data consumption by each smartphone user. The average traffic per smartphone users in India is estimated to grow as high as 40GB per month by 2026.
  • In 2020, total mobile data traffic in India increased to 9.5EB per month, nearly 37% up within just a year.
  • By 2026, the total mobile data traffic in India is estimated to reach a whopping 40EB/month, putting India at the forefront of mobile data consumptions and usage.
  • 4G represents 61% of mobile subscriptions in India now.
  • Despite 5G arrival, 4G will be the dominating network in 2026 with 66% share.
  • The number of 4G subscription in India is estimated to rise to 830 million by 2026 from 680 million in 2020.
  • There were 810 million smartphone users in India by the end of 2020. The number is estimated to go up to 1.2 billion by 2026.

5G Rollout: $30 Billion Opportunity For Indian IT Firms

The rollout of 5G services worldwide would create a massive $30 billion opportunity to shine and thrive for Indian firms. The demand for solutions optimised for 5G will help Indian IT companies to bag some of the largest development projects in the years to come.

In India, the race to dominate the 5G space has already begun between Reliance Jio and Airtel. While Bharti Airtel is busy conducting a successful trail of 5G one after another, Reliance Jio is already confident about its existing 5G ready network to keep its competitors on its toes. However, Jio has just started doing trials for 5G, and some announcement could be made during the upcoming AGM of RIL scheduled for July 15, 2021.

Food For Thought

Indian telecom companies have already started making big claims about their upcoming 5G services. However, they failed to improve and stabilise their 4G services to meet customer satisfaction. Even after 9 years of the first 4G rollout, India ranks at 128th position in Ookla’s Speedtest Global Index with an average speed of just 15.34 Mbps only. Will they live up to the expectations with 5G or it will take another decade for India telecom providers to achieve stability with their 5G offerings? Only time will tell!


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