India’s mobile connections are forecast to expand 50 per cent to 1.4 billion by 2020, when mobile penetration will reach 100 per cent.
The country currently has 970 million mobile connections, with about 80 per cent of subscribers on 2G networks, according to Ericsson’s most recent mobility report.
India was the fastest growing mobile market in the world, the reported stated, with 26 million net additions in the first quarter, followed by China (eight million), Myanmar (five million), Indonesia (four million) and Japan (four million).
By 2020 4G is expected to account for about 17 per cent of India’s total user base, or 230 million connections. A couple of operators in the country offer 4G service in a few cities, but new-entrant Reliance Jio Infocomm plans to commercially launch 4G services in December, following an “extensive beta launch”.
The report, which included six regional appendices, predicted that India’s 2G subscriber base will peak this year at 780 million as 3G subscriptions expand from about 120 million last year (13 per cent of total) to around 620 million by 2020, when 3G subs will represent 45 per cent of total connections.
The country’s 12 operators’ 2G networks have 95 per cent population coverage, but their 3G networks covered just 35 per cent of the population at the end of last year. 3G coverage is expected to expand to 90 per cent by the end of 2020 and 4G coverage is forecast to reach 40 per cent of the population at that time.
The mobility report said that falling handset prices and more affordable mobile broadband tariffs will lead to smartphone subscriptions jumping from 130 million last year to 750 million by 2020. This will drive an 18-fold increase in mobile data consumption by the year 2020 over current levels.