There are 10 million active 5G capable devices in India despite the non-availability of 5G services in the country. This may prove to be beneficial for telecom operators as once the services are launched later this year, these device owners could be potential 5G subscribers. The shipments of 5G smartphones are gradually increasing and the majority of new devices being launched are 5G-enabled, a report by Nokia said.
According to Nokia, the 5G uptake in India will be driven by consumers and enterprise businesses. Despite its launch, 4G is expected to remain dominant over the next few years. Nokia’s annual Mobile Broadband Index (MBiT) report stated that the expanding ecosystem of 4G-capable devices is driving growth in 4G subscribers and data consumption.
India recorded the highest-ever shipment of more than 160 million smartphones, including 30 million 5G devices in 2021. The data traffic increased 31% in 2021, with average mobile data consumption touching 17 GB per user per month, and 4G consisting of 99% of the total data traffic. During the year, 40 million 4G subscribers were added.
As per Nokia, India has more than doubled its mobile broadband subscribers from 345 million to 765 million in the last five years.
Going forward, mobile data traffic growth will be fuelled by 5G. The commercial roll-out of 5G services is expected later this year, starting with metro cities and places where trials are currently underway. The government is preparing to conduct the spectrum auction in a few months. According to the report, India’s mobile 5G services revenue is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 164% between 2022 and 2026. Mobile 5G services are expected to generate $9.0 billion, equivalent to 37.7% of total mobile service revenue in India by 2026.
The use cases for 5G in the country include environment monitoring like flood detection, energy management. It could boost digitisation by empowering the remote workforce and can be utilised at a large scale for the internet of things (IoT).
5G is gaining momentum around the world and is projected to contribute up to 1% of global GDP, or $1.3 trillion in revenues by 2030, driven by multiple sectors from health care, utilities, next-gen media applications, manufacturing and smart cities. Also, by 2026, global mobile 5G subscriptions will reach 4.1 billion, equivalent to 37.1% of total mobile subscriptions.
“4G has played a crucial role in developing India’s mobile broadband ecosystem. Now, the upcoming 5G spectrum auction and the commercial launch of services later this year will help India bridge the digital divide and enable service providers to provide new and exciting use cases,” Sanjay Malik, SVP & head of Nokia India, said.