YOU ARE AT:5GIndia to reach 330 million 5G subscribers in 2026: Ericsson

India to reach 330 million 5G subscribers in 2026: Ericsson

5G subscriptions in India are forecast to reach 330 million in 2026, according to Ericsson’s latest Mobility Report.

This technology will account 26% of total mobile subscriptions in the Asian country by that year, the Swedish vendor said.

Meanwhile, 4G subscriptions in India are forecast to rise from 680 million in 2020 to 830 million in 2026, increasing at a CAGR of 3%.

4G remained the dominant technology in India last year, accounting for 61% of mobile subscriptions. The technology will continue to be dominant, representing 66% of mobile subscriptions in 2026, with 3G being phased out by that time.

Ericsson also reported that smartphone subscriptions accounted for 72% of total mobile subscriptions in 2020 and are projected to constitute over 98% in 2026, driven by rapid smartphone adoption in the country.

Nitin Bansal, head of Ericsson India and head of network solutions for Southeast Asia, Oceania and India, said: “COVID-19 has accelerated India’s digital transformation as more and more consumers rely on digital services – be it digital payments, remote health consultations, online retail or video conferencing – to fulfill their business or personal needs. Accordingly, the average monthly mobile data usage per smartphone continues to show robust growth, boosted by people increasing their smartphone usage while staying at home.”

According to Ericsson’s ConsumerLab study – Five Ways to a Better 5G, at least 40 million smartphone users in India could take up 5G in first year of 5G being made available with consumers even willing to pay 50% more for 5G plans with bundled digital services, compared to just 10% premium for 5G connectivity. In fact, India has the biggest rise in intention to upgrade with 67% of users expressing an intention to take up 5G once it is available, an increase of 14 percentage points over 2019, the vendor said.

Last month, India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had authorized local carriers to carry out trials of 5G technology in the country. DoT said that the permits were given to Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Vodafone Idea and MTNL, which will carry out these 5G trials in partnerships with vendors including Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and C-DOT.  In addition, Reliance Jio Infocomm will also be conducting trials using its own technology.

Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE were not included in this phase of 5G trials.

The 5G trials are expected to last for a six-month period, which includes a time period of two months for procurement and setting up of the equipment.

The permission letters specify that each carrier will have to conduct trials in rural and semi-urban settings also in addition to urban areas.

This week, local carriers Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel kicked off 5G trials in the country, according to local press reports.

Also, according to recent press reports, DoT was expected to ask the country’s telecoms regulator to lower the minimum price for the auction of 5G airwaves.

Local carriers have been insisting that the floor price recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is unaffordable and will seriously affect the launch of commercial 5G services in the country.

The Cellular Operators Association of India has previously warned that the high reserve price for 5G frequencies would make it difficult for local carrier to take part in the 5G spectrum auction. The reserve prices set by Trai for 5G airwaves is nearly 4-6 times higher than that of the prices in other countries.


Juan Pedro Tomás
Juan Pedro covers Global Carriers and Global Enterprise IoT. Prior to RCR, Juan Pedro worked for Business News Americas, covering telecoms and IT news in the Latin American markets. He also worked for Telecompaper as their Regional Editor for Latin America and Asia/Pacific. Juan Pedro has also contributed to Latin Trade magazine as the publication's correspondent in Argentina and with political risk consultancy firm Exclusive Analysis, writing reports and providing political and economic information from certain Latin American markets. He has a degree in International Relations and a master in Journalism and is married with two kids.

Editorial Reports

White Papers


Featured Content