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5G subscriptions in India seen at 500 million by 2027, Ericsson report

The 5G subscriptions in India will touch 500 million by 2027-end, accounting for 39 per cent of mobile subscribers, according to a report by Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson.

The commercial launches of 5G networks are planned for the second half of 2022 in India, with enhanced mobile broadband expected to be the initial main use case, the Ericsson Mobility Report said. 5G will represent around 39 per cent of mobile subscriptions in the region at the end of 2027, with about 500 million subscriptions, it predicted.

“Total mobile data traffic in the India region is estimated to grow by a factor of four between 2021 and 2027. This is driven by high growth in the number of smartphone users and an increase in average usage per smartphone,” Thiaw Seng Ng, Head of Network Evolution, SEA, Oceania and India at Ericsson said.

The average data traffic per smartphone in the India region is the second-highest globally. Further, it is projected to rise from 20 GB per month in 2021 to around 50 GB per month in 2027, growing at 16 per cent CAGR.

In India, where 5G deployments have yet to begin, 5G is expected to account for nearly 40 percent of all subscriptions by 2027. In global terms, 5G is forecast to account for almost half of all subscriptions by 2027, topping 4.4 billion subscriptions.

North America is expected to lead the world in 5G subscription penetration in the next five years with nine-of-every-ten subscriptions in the region expected to be 5G, by 2027.

According to a new study from research consultancy Omdia sponsored by Ericsson, over half (52 per cent) of Indian enterprises surveyed want to start using 5G within the next 12 months.

A further 31 per cent expect to use 5G by 2024. The 326 business executives surveyed across a range of industries believe 5G is a critical technology enabling their digital transformation.

The study highlighted that quality of experience rather than price drives customers to buy 5G, changing the competitive dynamics of India’s telecoms market. The top 5G use cases that enterprises identify are enhanced content streaming, real-time video analytics and control of autonomous vehicles and drones.

Meanwhile, the Ericsson Mobility Report has predicted that current global 5G subscriptions will surpass the one billion milestone by the end of 2022.

The 2027-timeline also includes projections that 5G will account for about 82 per cent of subscriptions in Western Europe; 80 per cent in the Gulf cooperation council region, and 74 per cent in North East Asia.

The report underscores that 5G is scaling faster than all previous mobile technology generations. About a quarter of the world’s population currently has access to 5G coverage. Some 70 million 5G subscriptions were added during the first quarter of 2022, alone. By 2027, about three-quarters of the world’s population will be able to access 5G, as per the report.

It is pertinent to mention that Indian operators are gearing up for the launch of 5G services that will usher in ultra high speeds — about 10 times faster than 4G — and spawn new-age offerings and business models.

At present, 4G is the dominant subscription type, driving connectivity growth in India. “While 4G contributes around 68 per cent of the total mobile subscriptions in India, its contribution is expected to drop to 55 per cent in 2027. 4G subscriptions are forecast to decline annually to an estimated 700 million subscriptions in 2027 as subscribers migrate to 5G post introduction of 5G in India,” the report revealed.

Last week, the Union Cabinet approved the auction of airwaves capable of offering fifth-generation or 5G telecom services, and gave its nod for setting up captive 5G networks by tech firms.

The issue of captive private networks has been a major flashpoint between telcos and enterprises. Private 5G is a subset of the total enterprise 5G opportunity.

“As a percentage of enterprise networking and mobile revenues, private 5G represents less than one per cent of the revenues, today. In terms of 5G revenues that are happening at the moment…the vast majority of the money is being made in the mobile and the fixed wireless,” Camille Mendler, Chief Analyst, Enterprise Services at Omdia said. Outlook India

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