Three countries of the subcontinent — India, Nepal and Bhutan — are expected to see 5G connections account for 40% of overall mobile subscriptions by the end of 2027, a recent survey shows. Underlining that recent tariff hike has not remedied low telecom sector revenues, the report projects that telecom service providers will benefit from the efficiency gains provided by 5G services.

Notably, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is planning to auction 5G spectrum during June-July, and roll out the next-gen telecom services by the latter half of this year.

“India’s leading service providers are testing 5G at multiple locations, focusing on use cases for both urban and rural consumers. These include FWA for rural broadband, mobile cloud gaming, cloud-connected robotics, and remote healthcare,” notes the June edition of Ericsson Mobility Report.

“5G is projected to account for almost 40% of mobile subscriptions – 500 million – by the end of 2027. By then, smartphone users in the region are forecast to consume 50GB of data per month on average,” it adds.

As subscribers migrate to 5G, Ericsson expects 4G subscriptions to decline annually to an estimated 700 million subscriptions in 2027.

Even before 5G services are commercially launched in the region, there exists a good foundation for 5G uptake in India. An earlier report by Ericsson projects 40 million 5G smartphone users to take up 5G in the first year of its availability.

“Additionally, 21% of respondents that are smartphone users indicated that they already have a 5G-ready device. Indian consumers also claim to be willing to pay 50% more for 5G bundled plans. This presents a unique opportunity to grow revenue within a market that has historically had very low ARPU (average revenue per user),” the Ericsson report states.

The Swedish telecom player says 5G will enable Indian mobile service providers to generate $17 billion in incremental revenue from enterprises by 2030. Much of this is projected to be driven by the adoption of 5G in the manufacturing, energy and utilities, ICT (information and communication technology) and retail industries, it adds.

“5G will also enable service providers to launch new services for consumers, including home broadband (5G FWA), enhanced video, multiplayer mobile gaming, and AR/VR services. Consumers anticipate that service providers will offer pricing plans with service bundling and data sharing,” the mobility report says.

Earlier this month, the Union Cabinet approved the proposal to conduct the auction for 5G airwaves, where 72,097.85 MHz of spectrum will be put on the block. The auction will be held for spectrum in various low (600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz), mid (3,300 MHz) and high (26 GHz) frequency bands. The ownership will be valid for 20 years.

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