5G To Form 26 Percent Of India’s Mobile Subscriptions by 2026: Report

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At least 40 million smartphone users in India could take up 5G in the first year of 5G being made available with consumers even willing to pay 50 per cent more for 5G plans with bundled digital services

As the push for 5G launch in the country reaches its peak, a new report now suggests that 5G will represent around 26 per cent of mobile subscriptions in India at the end of 2026, estimated at about 330 million subscriptions.

As per Ericsson’s Mobility Report, 4G remained the dominant technology in 2020, accounting for 61 per cent of mobile subscriptions. 4G subscriptions are forecast to rise from 680 million in 2020 to 830 million in 2026, increasing at a CAGR of 3 per cent. The technology will continue to be dominant, representing 66 per cent of mobile subscriptions in 2026, with 3G being phased out by that time. 

This comes as various telecom providers in the country receive the DoT’s (Department of Telecom) approval to hold 5G trials in parts of the country. 

According to a ConsumerLab study by Ericsson, at least 40 million smartphone users in India could take up 5G in the first year of 5G being made available with consumers even willing to pay 50 per cent more for 5G plans with bundled digital services, compared to just 10 per cent premium for 5G connectivity. 

In fact, India has the biggest rise in intention to upgrade with 67 per cent of users expressing an intention to take up 5G once it is available, an increase of 14 percentage points over 2019.

The report added that the average traffic per smartphone user in India has increased from 13GB per month in 2019 to 14.6GB per month in 2020. The average traffic per smartphone in the India region stands second highest globally and is projected to grow to around 40GB per month in 2026.

Nitin Bansal, Head of Ericsson India and Head of Network Solutions for South east Asia, Oceania and India, said, “COVID-19 has accelerated India’s digital transformation as more and more consumers rely on digital services…to fulfil their business or personal needs. Accordingly, the average monthly mobile data usage per smartphone continues to show robust growth, boosted by people increasing their smartphone usage while staying at home.” 

Additionally, the report also expects 5G to surpass a billion subscriptions two years ahead of the 4G LTE timeline for the same milestone. This commercial 5G momentum is expected to continue in coming years, spurred by the enhanced role of connectivity as a key component of post-COVID-19 economic recovery.

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