Heaven Mail National Bureau
India is fast emerging as a global hub of telecommunication, and the sector is growing by leaps and bounds. India will have more than 150 million 5G subscribers by 2024 as the numbers jump in the second half of this year, telecom gear maker Nokia has projected.
The country will also have a combined 4G and 5G subscriber base of 990 million by 2024, said Nokia in a report based on research conducted by OMDIA.
350 million users currently
There will be around 150 million 2G customers by 2024, down from the 350 million users now mainly with Vodafone Idea, Airtel, and state-owned BSNL.
There are now more than 20 million 5G customers in the country, according to the latest estimates since the service was launched in October last year.
Reliance Jio, according to sources, is already looking at having 100 million 5G customers by the end of FY 24. If it does that the Nokia number could well be surpassed.
Nokia, which released the India Mobile Broadband Index report on Thursday for 2023, said that cumulative 5G smartphone shipments will cross 100 million by Q2 2023, surpassing 4G smartphone shipments by the end of 2023.
62% growth expected in smartphone users
The report said that more than 70 million 5G devices were shipped to India in 2022. As many as 85 million of 730 million active 4G users had 5G-enabled phones. It pointed out that improved availability for the service would accelerate 5G smartphone growth in 2023 by more than 62 percent year-on-year.
Nokia projects a massive increase in data usage due to the 5G rollout: average usage per user per month will grow over 136 percent, from 19.5 GB in 2022 to 46GB in 2027. Average mobile broadband penetration will hit 82 percent in the same year. Simply put, India will remain amongst the top data-consuming countries in the world.
The report said that the total spend by corporates on private wireless networks will reach $240 million by 2027. It says that the Indian market is evolving, with future enterprise business generating 40 percent of total 5G revenues. India will 2027 have more than 2,400 sites for private wireless networks, the bulk of which will be on 5G.
India is the world’s second-largest telecom market
India has cleared a proposal permitting companies to set up their own private networks and acquire spectrum directly. The policy’s details, opposed by telecom companies, are still to be framed by regulator TRAI and the government.
The Nokia report said that data traffic has gone up 3.2 X between 2018 to 2022, up from 4.5 exabytes per month to 14.4 exabytes in 2022.
Currently, India is the world’s second-largest telecommunications market with a subscriber base of 1.16 billion, and has registered strong growth in the last decade. The Indian mobile economy is growing rapidly and will contribute substantially to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) according to a report prepared by GSM Association (GSMA) in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In 2019, India surpassed the US to become the second-largest market in terms of the number of app downloads.
The liberal and reformist policies of the Government of India have been instrumental along with strong consumer demand in the rapid growth of the Indian telecom sector. The Government has enabled easy market access to telecom equipment and a fair and proactive regulatory framework that has ensured the availability of telecom services to consumers at affordable prices. The deregulation of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms has made the sector one of the fastest-growing and the top five employment opportunity generators in the country.
India is becoming a telecom giant without a doubt.