India low on mobile penetration, but high on new connections

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on January 22, 2018 Published on November 18, 2015


13 million new mobile subscriptions added in Q3

Even as India reported highest net additions in the mobile subscriptions globally during the third quarter (July-September) this year, the country continues to face one of the least penetration of mobile phones in the world thereby providing further avenues for growth of mobile phones. 

The November 2015 edition of Ericsson Mobility Report reveals that India has mobile penetration of 77 per cent as against the global average of 99 per cent. 

Notably, close competitors like Africa and China fare much better at 81 per cent and 93 per cent penetration respectively. The Asia-Pacific region excluding India and China has mobile penetration of 106 per cent.

With 13 million net additions in mobile subscriptions India topped the world chart, followed by China at 7 million, US at 6 million, Myanmar with 5 million and Nigeria at about 4 million net additions. Smartphones accounted for about 75 per cent of the overall 3.4 billion mobile phone subscriptions added globally during the quarter, the report noted. 

India's emergence as among fastest growing mobile markets, would boost mobile data consumption. This will prompt telecom operators to chart out new monthly data plans for their consumers. 

As per the report, in the next 5 years, monthly smartphone data consumption per active subscription in North America (22 GB) will be 1.2 times that of Western Europe (18 GB) and 3 times that of Asia Pacific (7 GB). However, the Asia Pacific region will have the largest share of total smartphone traffic in 2021, due to growth in the number of subscriptions.

Increased data consumption will essentially be driven by increase in 4G-LTE smartphones. In the third quarter, the LTE subscriptions touched 850 million and expected to reach first billion during 2015. By 2021, it is expected to touch 4.1 billion - largest share of all subscriptions. Asia Pacific is a diverse region and the regional share of LTE subscriptions will be around 50 per cent in 2021.

The report projected the fifth generation - 5G subscription uptake to be faster than for 4G. 5G networks, based on standards that will meet ITU IMT-2020 requirements, are expected to be deployed commercially in 2020. Pre-standard, pre-commercial networks are expected to be launched earlier in selected markets. 

The US, Japan, China and South Korea are expected to be the first countries where 5G subscriptions will be available.

Published on November 18, 2015
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