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5G will reach 37.7% total mobile services revenue by 2026

India’s 5G revenues are projected to hit $9 billion by 2026 and will account for 37.7 per cent of its total mobile services revenues, according to a India Mobile Broadband Index 2022 report released by telecom gear maker Nokia today. The projections were done by research agency, Global Data.

However, the study shows that globally, telecom operators will generate as much as 64 per cent of their revenues from 5G services. India, though, will account for a mere 1.39 per cent of global 5G revenues, expected to touch $645 billion by 2026.

The reason for this is two fold: First, tariffs in India are the lowest in the world. And second, 4G will continue to play a dominant role in the country for a while even after the launch of 5G.

The rollout of 5G mobile services has been delayed in India. It is now expected to be launched commercially by the end of this year. However, a lot will depend on whether the 5G spectrum auctions happen on time. More than 180 operators in over 70 countries around the world have rolled out 5G services.

The Nokia report says that according to Global Data, there will be 329 million 5G subscribers in India by 2026, while consultancy firm OMDIA has projected a much bigger number — 369 million — for the same year. That accounts for around 30 per cent of the country’s current number of mobile subscribers. Nokia executives say that the estimates are conservative, considering the growth in data usage.

In 2026 India will account for less than 9 per cent of the global 5G subscriber base. The Nokia report projects that in 2022 there will be over 1389 million 5G subscribers across the world, but India will only make a beginning in this space, and that too if services commence even in limited areas.

The report says that there are 10 million active 5G devices in India, and that in 2021 over 30 million 5G devices were shipped to the country – a trend confirmed by most device manufacturers who are pushing 5G- enabled phones in the smartphone category.

The report also reinforces the trend of growing data usage on 4G. In 2021 40 million data users were added or upgraded from 2G and 3G to 4G. As a result, the number of 4G mobile data subscribers zoomed to 742 million — up from a mere 432 million in 2018.

Mobile data usage also continues to show strong growth, with 4G contributing to 99 per cent of the total traffic. Also, active 4G-capable devices now comprise over 80 per cent of the total number of devices. Hence, despite the entry of 5G, for the next few years, 4G will continue to dominate the mobile data sweepstakes. Business Standard

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