Within two years of the 5G rollout, India’s median mobile download speed increased by 259% between September 2022 and August 2023, reveals the recent Ericsson mobility report released today. This elevated the country from 119th to 15th rank by April 2024 on the Speedtest Global Index.

The introduction of more affordable 5G-capable devices in the market facilitated 5G adoption in the country. Around 52% of smartphone shipments to India were 5G-enabled in 2023, with significant growth in the $100-199 price range.

5G technology penetration in India reached 10 percent accounting for 11.9 crore users in 2023 and is expected to get 65% with a user base of 84 crore by 2029. The report highlighted this is due to intensive 5G network deployments, widespread coverage, and availability of affordable 5G services in the country.

The report estimates mobile subscriptions to grow from 1.2 billion in 2023 to 1.3 billion in 2029. The monthly mobile data traffic per active smartphone is also expected to grow by a CAGR of 15% from 2023-29 from 29 GB to 68 GB in 2029. While 4G continues to be the dominant subscription type, due to a successful 5G deployment, 4G subscriptions are expected to decline by 9% from 74 crore to 41 crore by 2029.

“Enhanced mobile broadband and FWA (Fixed wireless access) are emerging as initial 5G use cases,” read the report.

“These FWA services utilise network slicing to deliver reliable, assured services, for example, a high-performance experience such as 8K video,” the report read.

The forecast has taken the high ambitions of 5G FWA in emerging markets into account, both in terms of increasing the number of connections and the share of 5G FWA connections. Higher volumes of 5G FWA in large, high-growth countries, such as India, have the potential to drive economies of scale for the overall 5G FWA ecosystem, resulting in affordable customer premises equipment (CPE) that will have a positive impact across low-income markets.

Mid-band population coverage in the India region has made rapid deployments, reaching 90 percent mid-band coverage respectively by the end of 2023.

The report showed that the demand for home internet has surged in India, in the post-pandemic world due to remote work, higher data consumption, and more available devices. Currently, only 34 million residential homes are connected with fiber-to-the-home service.

“Airtel deployed India’s first 5G private network at a manufacturing facility in Bangalore, implementing two industrial-grade use cases for quality improvement and operational efficiency,” revealed the release made in collaboration with Airtel.

The company is working with companies from sectors such as manufacturing, mobility, healthcare, ports, mining, logistics and advanced robotics.

The Government of India plans to establish 100 5G labs in academic institutions, towards which companies like Airtel are working. These labs aim to foster the development of applications utilising 5G services in smart classrooms, precision farming, intelligent transport systems, and healthcare.

The release informed that in the past three years, the service provider saw a compounded growth of 12% for its wireless service revenues between 2021 and 2024. The average revenue per user improved primarily because of three factors which include feature phone to smartphone upgrades, prepaid to postpaid upgrades and wallet share increases through a combination of data monetisation and international roaming.

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