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NEW DELHI : Retailers are banking on 5G and 5G- enabled smartphones to stimulate demand ahead of the festive season as top brands prepare to launch models based on the technology and telcos initiate new services.

Most businesses expect 5G phones to make up the bulk of shipments, while some expect prices to fall below 10,000 within six months, which in turn, will drive adoption.

“About one-third or one-fourth of the existing phones being shipped are 5G-ready, but price is still over 15,000. The sub 10,000 mark will be an inflection point which will drive adoption," said Vikas Jain, co-founder of Micromax, who has now ventured into connected devices under the World of Play brand.

With the festive season approaching, top players such as Xiaomi, Realme, Motorola, Oppo and OnePlus have introduced new 5G devices with others expected to launch more models in the coming months. The prices however, will remain on the upper side of 15,000.

“A consumer upgrading their phone today will surely be doing so to a 5G device. It is more or less becoming a hygiene factor in the mid-tier phone segments across brands," said Navkendar Singh, associate vice-president for devices research at IDC India, South Asia & ANZ. He added that brands may well have to offering discounts and incentive plans to drive demand this festive season.

According to IDC, 11 million 5G smartphones were shipped in India between January 2022 and June 2022, with an average selling price of $377 or about 30,000. It said that about 51 million 5G smartphones have shipped from 2020 to 1H22, and they are expected to cross 50% market share by 2023. However, 5G phones in the mass market have fewer models.

That may change with the new launches. For instance, Realme launched the realme 9i 5G starting at 14,999 for its 4GB RAM and 64 GB storage model which went on sale on Wednesday. Earlier this month, Motorola launched the moto g62 5G starting at 16,249.

Analysts at Frost and Sullivan said in a recent report that manufacturers providing higher-specification devices at lower price will be one of the prime reasons for the average replacement cycle for smart smartphones getting reduced to of 20 months from 24-27 months.

On the services side, Vodafone Idea sent out messages to its users in Delhi NCR on Wednesday informing them about 5G network services beginning on its network “soon".

Competitors Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel have indicated launches within this month.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gulveen Aulakh

Gulveen Aulakh is Senior Assistant Editor at Mint, serving dual roles covering the disinvestment landscape out of New Delhi, and the telecom & IT sectors as part of the corporate bureau. She had been tracking several government ministries for the last ten years in her previous stint at The Economic Times. An IIM Calcutta alumnus, Gulveen is fluent in French, a keen learner of new languages and avid foodie.
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