India’s mobile market has experienced very strong growth over the last six years. The market remains highly competitive, but rather than a focus only on growth in subscribers the market is shifting to value-added. The roll-out of 4G / LTE services is driving significant shift to mobile data services across the country.
Particularly strong growth was seen in the 2016-2018 as newcomer Reliance Jio aggressively entered the market. With its totally 4G offering, Reliance Jio has evolved to become a nationwide mobile operator focused heavily on data, with voice and data services at half the average market rates. This has seen a sharp drop in ARPU amongst most mobile operators and a sharp loss of subscribers by some operators. Operations of smaller-scale mobile operators is becoming increasingly unviable, forcing them to or merge/be acquired by larger providers or exit the market entirely.
Slower growth is predicted over the next five years to 2023. The market will be constrained from higher growth due to very strong local competition and an increasingly saturated mobile market.
Mobile broadband penetration has grown strongly in India over the past few years driven by a strong and growing mobile subscriber base and strong adoption of 4G LTE services. Further strong growth is predicted over the few years, driven by further adoption of 4G and eventually 5G services particularly as the penetration rate is well below a number of other nations.
Increasing affordability of handsets along with better data supporting specifications such as carrier aggregation and enhanced resolution will further boost data consumption per subscriber.
Uptake of next generation technologies such as Internet-of-things (IoT), and evolving trends such as smart cities, and new devices offering virtual reality experiences will all enhance data usage going forward. Operators will increasingly focus on infrastructure investments such as optical fibre and small cells for expanding 4G coverage and capacity. India has taken initial steps towards the eventual rollout of 5G services.
Aircel, Bharti Airtel, Quadrant (HFCL), Idea, Reliance Communications, Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJI), Tata Teleservices, Vodafone Essar, Videocon, Reliance Infocomm, Tata Teleservices, Sistema, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL), Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), Videocon.
Number of pages 61
Last updated 4 Oct 2018
Analyst: Phil Harpur
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