India’s 5G subscriber base expected to reach 500 mn by 2027

Average monthly data usage per user is expected to grow from  18.4 GB per month to 50 GB per month in 2027

Abhijit Ahaskar
First Published1 Dec 2021, 02:02 AM IST
Global 5G subscriptions are expected to reach 4.4 billion over the next six years, up from 660 million at the end of 2021. AFP
Global 5G subscriptions are expected to reach 4.4 billion over the next six years, up from 660 million at the end of 2021. AFP

India will have 500 million 5G users by 2027, accounting for 39% of all mobile subscribers, according to the 2021 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report published on Tuesday.

Consequently, the number of 4G subscribers in India is expected to fall from 790 million in 2021 to 710 million in 2027, declining 2% annually.

Global 5G subscriptions are expected to reach 4.4 billion over the next six years, up from 660 million at the end of 2021, the report added. The migration to 5G will also drive data consumption.

According to Ericsson, average monthly data usage per user is expected to grow from 18.4 gigabyte (GB) per month—the second-highest globally—to 50 GB per month in 2027. The global average is expected to be at 41 GB in 2027 up from 11.4 GB in 2021.

Mobile traffic in India is expected to grow by over four times from 12 exabytes (EB) per month in 2021 to 49 EB per month over the next six years. One exabyte is equal to a billion gigabytes.

Ericsson analysts attributed the high growth to an increase in average usage per smartphone, as well as the number of smartphone users in both urban and rural India.

The report said the number of Indian smartphone users will grow from 810 million at the end of 2021 to 1.2 billion by 2027 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7%. “A lot of this growth will depend on the market and how fast 5G is being rolled out. Markets with more 5G penetration by the end of the period will probably see more data use,” said Patrik Cerwall, head, strategic marketing, and editor, Ericsson Mobility Report.

According to the report, the rollout of 5G devices is outpacing 4G market share globally. Over 500 5G models have so far been launched, accounting for 23% of global smartphone volumes after 10 quarters into the technology cycle. Ericsson did not comment on the share of 5G smartphones in India.

A November report by Cybermedia Research (CMR) said 5G smartphones accounted for 22% of the overall smartphones shipped in India in the September quarter. Once 5G is made available in India, use cases for consumers will follow, said Nitin Bansal, head, Ericsson India, and head of network solutions, South East Asia, Oceania, and India.

“We have seen in our survey that 21% of consumers in India already own a 5G smartphone, which means 40 million users will take up 5G in the first year when it is available. We also saw that subscribers in India are willing to give up their existing fixed broadband and are willing to pay 50% more for 5G bundled plans and digital services,” he added.

India may conduct 5G spectrum auctions in the second half of 2022 after the department of telecommunications extended the timeline for 5G trials by six months earlier this month.

Bansal said consumers will initially drive 5G growth, but it will be used by enterprises in the long run.

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First Published:1 Dec 2021, 02:02 AM IST
HomeIndustryTelecomIndia’s 5G subscriber base expected to reach 500 mn by 2027

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