India will have more than 150 million 5G subscribers by 2024 as the numbers will jump in the second half of this year, telecom gear maker Nokia has projected.
Currently, India has more than 20 million 5G customers, according to latest estimates since the service was launched last October last year. Reliance Jio, according to sources, is already looking at having 100 million 5G customers by the end of FY24: if it manages this target, then the Nokia number of 150 million could well be surpassed. The country will also have a combined 4G and 5G subscriber base of 990 million by 2024.
The figures are from a report by Nokia, The India Mobile Broadband Index report for 2023, released on Thursday, based on research conducted by Omdia.
Based on these projections, there will be around 150 million 2G customers by 2024, down from the current 350 million who are mainly with Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and state-owned BSNL.
Nokia says the cumulative 5G smartphone shipments will cross 100 million by Q2FY23, surpassing 4G smartphone shipments by the end of 2023.
The report says 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.
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It points out that improved availability of the service will accelerate 5G smartphone growth in 2023 by more than 62 per cent 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 per cent, from 19.5 GB in 2022 to 46 GB in 2027. Average mobile broadband penetration will hit 82 per cent in the same year. Simply put, India will remain amongst the top data-consuming countries in the world.
The report says the total spend by corporates on private wireless networks will reach $240 million by 2027. The Indian market is evolving, it says, with future enterprise business generating 40 per cent of total 5G revenues. In 2027, India will have more than 2,400 sites for private wireless networks, the bulk of which will be on 5G.
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 says that data traffic has gone up 3.2x between 2018 to 2022, up from 4.5 exabyte per month to 14.4 exabyte in 2022.