India To Have 600 Mn Mobile Broadband Users By 2020
The mobile broadband subscriber base in India could grow to 600 million by 2020 from around 100 million now with 20 per cent of them using 4G, according to a recent whitepaper by Ericsson that talks about the role of government and industry towards making ‘Digital India’ a reality in the next six years.
According to the whitepaper, smartphone prices are expected to fall by 40-50 percent over the next three years. As a result, the number of subscribers able to afford smartphones and services are expected to reach over 700 million by 2020, up from 110 million in 2013. The number of mobile broadband subscribers is estimated to be 70 million in 2013, says the report.
The increasing number of subscribers, cheaper smartphones, and government initiatives such as the National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) will drive internet connectivity in India, says Ericsson. At the same time, heterogeneous networks including macro cell sites, small cells and Wi-Fi hotspots will be fundamental to manage coverage, capacity and quality of performance for users.
The combined revenue of Indian operators is expected to evolve to include a higher contribution from data-driven 3G and 4G service revenues in future. Data revenues will represent an increasing proportion of the total, and are expected to rise from 10-12 percent in 2013 to 35-40 percent by 2020, driven by a growth in data subscribers as well as usage per subscriber, says the study.
Opportunities in emerging services such as mobile health, mobile education, mobile commerce and mobile banking are expected to have long-term potential as operators, regulators and other value chain players including device vendors, content providers and app developers increase their focus and take initiatives to promote health, education and financial inclusion among the population.
Fuelling and sustaining mobile broadband growth in India will require access to additional radio spectrum and is the basic resource required for building efficient networks able to serve large numbers of subscribers generating large amounts of traffic, says the study.
Ajay Gupta, VP and head of strategy & marketing at Ericsson India, said, “Mobile Broadband will be the platform on which the ‘Digital India’ vision can be delivered. For this we will need the release of additional spectrum in the relevant bands. This will contribute to affordability of services, and harmonisation of spectrum will allow a lower-cost device ecosystem to evolve.”
He states that operators in India have far less spectrum than their peers globally with high mobile broadband penetration. Spectrum will play a key role in driving mobile broadband growth in India in the long run, and will be an increasingly important driver of capacity, user experience, and quality.
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