India to have 500 m 5G mobile subscriptions by 2027: Ericsson

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A healthy uptake is expected in 5G services once they are launched in the country, and 5G is estimated to account for around 40% of mobile subscriptions by 2027. In absolute numbers, this would translate to around 500 million users, Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson said in its mobility report released on Tuesday.

As per the report, though 5G has not been launched commercially, there is a good foundation for 5G uptake in India. According to the Ericsson ConsumerLab study, there is significant consumer interest in adopting 5G and 40 million smartphone users could take up the services in the first year of availability.

Indian consumers also claim to be willing to pay 50% more for 5G bundled-plans, which presents a unique opportunity to mobile operators to grow their revenues within a market that has historically had very low average revenue per user (Arpu).

The department of telecommunications (DoT) plans to start the 5G spectrum auction on July 26. The government is aiming for a August 15 launch at select locations. Full-fledged launch of 5G will happen by the end of this year. Mobile operators are already conducting 5G trials at various locations, focusing on use cases for both urban and rural consumers, including mobile cloud gaming, cloud-connected robotics and remote healthcare.

Currently, 4G is the dominant subscription type driving connectivity growth in India. “While 4G contributes around 68% of the total mobile subscriptions in India, its contribution is expected to drop to 55% in 2027. 4G subscriptions are forecast to decline annually to an estimated 700 million subscriptions in 2027 as subscribers migrate to 5G post introduction of 5G in India,” Ericsson said.

As per Thiaw Seng Ng, head of network evolution, SEA, Oceania and India, Ericsson, “Total mobile data traffic in the India region is estimated to grow by a factor of 4 between 2021 and 2027. This is driven by high growth in the number of smartphone users and an increase in average usage per smartphone.”

The average data traffic per smartphone in India is the second highest globally. It is projected to grow from 20 GB per month in 2021 to around 50 GB per month in 2027, at a compound annual growth rate of 16%.

Globally, 5G is forecast to account for almost half of all subscriptions by 2027, topping 4.4 billion subscriptions. Further, it has been verified that 5G is scaling faster than all previous mobile technology generations. About a quarter of the world’s population currently has access to 5G coverage. “Some 70 million 5G subscriptions were added during the first quarter of 2022 alone. By 2027, about three-quarters of the world’s population will be able to access 5G,” the report said.

Highlighting the importance of 5G in India, a new study by research consultancy Omdia, sponsored by Ericsson, said 52% of Indian enterprises want to start using 5G within the next 12 months.