India to near 1B mobile subs in 2020

26 OCT 2016

LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 INDIA: India, one of the fastest growing mobile markets and the world’s second largest, is expected to have nearly one billion unique mobile subscribers by 2020, a report from GSMA Intelligence (GSMAi) forecasts.

The report, ‘The Mobile Economy: India 2016’, found that at the end of June the country had 616 million unique subscribers. Earlier this year India overtook the US to become the world’s second-largest smartphone market with an installed base of 275 million devices.

The report predicts that improving affordability, falling device prices and operator investments in network coverage and quality will help deliver an additional 330 million unique subscribers in India by 2020, lifting the country’s penetration rate to 68 per cent of the population (up from 47 per cent last year).

India is also seeing an on-going technology shift to mobile broadband services, with the number of 3G/4G connections forecast to increase from 430 million to more than 670 million by 2020, or 48 per cent of the population.

GSMAi also forecasts an accelerating move to 4G over the next three years as 4G connections expand from just three million at the end of 2015 to 280 million by 2020. To fuel this growth, operators are set to invest $34 billion (INR2.3 trillion) in capex from 2016 to 2020.

GSMAi noted mobile broadband penetration still lags the regional average of 63 per cent penetration, and the survey found that lack of awareness and locally relevant content are the biggest barriers to internet usage.

Financial inclusion is also growing in India. About 65 per cent of Indian adults have an account with a financial institution, indicating significant room to increase adoption of financial services through mobile technology.

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Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

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