A report released by Swedish communication technology and services provider, Ericsson, suggests that by 2020 India will have at least 1.4 billion mobile subscribers resulting in a population penetration of 100%.
This growth will be possible because of the increasing affordability of devices and services across the country and the world.
The India head at Ericsson, Chris Houghton said, “Maintaining and improving quality of the user experience is likely to be at the top of Indian operators’ agenda over the coming years. A network with a mix of macro sites, micro sites and small cells will need to be established to manage coverage, capacity and network performance for the best user experience and to meet the growing demand for data services”.
According to the report, 2G subscriptions are expected to decrease from 78 crore in 2014 to around 51 crore by 2020. 2G connections are likely to peak during the year 2015 and then decline as subscribers move to 3G connections.
The report adds that 3G connections are expected to become dominant by 2020 and are likely to increase from 12 crore in 2014 to around 62 crore by 2020. Meanwhile, LTE subscriptions are expected to reach more than 23 crore by 2020, forming around 17 percent of the total subscription base, as per the report.
Currently, GSM/EDGE technology has the widest reach in India, with 95 percent population coverage.
The Ericsson report also revealed the trends of the Indian consumers, “On average, Indian smartphone users spend over three hours a day on their smartphones and 25 percent of them check their phones over 100 times a day”.
Around a third of the time spent on smartphones is used for apps, primarily chat, social media, and gaming, the report observes.
“There has been an increase of over 20% in the overall time spent on smartphones and around a 65% increase in app usage since 2012, when Ericsson ConsumerLab measured these parameters,” the report noted along with pointing out that as consumers watch more content, their tolerance for delays will decrease.
“Nearly 65 percent of mobile broadband users prefer to stream rather than download videos on smartphones and 4 out of 10 videos played have issues with buffering and stalling.”
The report also speculates that the monthly mobile data consumption is expected to increase 18-fold by 2020 compared to current levels. “Across all mobile technologies in India, monthly data usage per subscriber is still relatively low, primarily because of a sub-optimal 2G and 3G user experience. This is caused by the inability of 2G networks to support high-bandwidth services, insufficient 3G network coverage, and a lack of relevant local content,” the report said.