India is expected to have around 150 million 5G subscribers by 2024, aided by faster adoption in the second half of 2023, according to telecom gear maker Nokia.

The combined 4G and 5G subscriber base in the country will rise to 990 million by 2024, Nokia said in its India Mobile Broadband Index report.

Cumulative 5G smartphone shipments will cross the 100 million mark in Q2 2023, surpassing 4G smartphone shipments by the end of 2023, the report said, adding that more than 70 million 5G devices were shipped to India in 2022.

As many as 85 million out of 730 million active 4G users had 5G capable devices, according to the report.

Improved 5G availability would further accelerate 5G smartphone growth in 2023 by more than 62% year-on-year, it said.

After its launch in October 2022, 5G infrastructure build-up and rollout is still underway. Telecom operators plan to provide pan-India 5G services in the next 12-15 months.

The report projects a massive increase in data usage due to 5G rollout. Average usage per user per month will grow over 136%, from 19.5 GB in 2022 to 46GB in 2027, the report said.

Mobile data in India will grow more than double by 2024, with 5G as the new accelerator.

Total spend on private wireless networks in India will rise to $240 million by 2027 including managed services, equipment leasing and direct CAPEX by enterprises, Nokia said, adding India's market is evolving as future enterprise business revenues are pegged at almost 40% of overall 5G revenues.

India is expected to have over 2,000 sites for private wireless networks by 2027, the report said.

Private wireless networks are experiencing a lot of traction across the globe with Western Europe, APAC, and North America among the front runners, the report said. Private 5G networks will play a crucial role in driving efficiency, productivity and sustainability as enterprises evolve to Industry 4.0, it added.

"Globally, operators are addressing the opportunity via a mix of technologies and it is expected that the private 5G market will eclipse the private LTE market in 2024 as enterprises leverage 5G as a foundational platform for digital transformation," Nokia said.

According to a report by Deloitte India and CII, India's telecom industry is expected to grow by $12.5 billion every three years as 5G will accelerate economic growth, increasing job opportunities and connecting the urban and rural population.

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