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India Could Have 330 Million 5G Subscribers By 2026

India is likely to have 330 million 5G users by the end of 2026. According to a recent report, by the end of 2021, the total 5G mobile users globally could be 580 million. About 1 million people are buying a new 5G smartphone every day.

The report projects that by 2026, 5G subscriptions will reach 3.5 billion, accounting for around 40% of all mobile subscriptions. India has the biggest rise in the 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.

About 26% of the mobile subscriptions in India by 2026-end would be 5G. Further, 4G subscriptions are expected to grow at a CAGR of 3%, going from 680 million in 2020 to 830 million by 2026. Currently, India ranks second in the average data usage in the world. The average data usage in India was 13 GB per month till the year 2019, which increased to 14.6 GB in the year 2020. By 2026, the average data consumption in India is expected to be 40 GB per month.

The report further stated that the country could witness an increase in smartphone subscriptions at a CAGR of 7%, going from 810 million in 2020 to more than 1.2 billion by the end of 2026. 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.

An industry expert noted that 42% of users living in mega or metro cities of India who use 4G as the only home internet connection are interested in using 5G fixed wireless access connection. 50% of consumers in the country are willing to pay 50% more for 5G with bundled digital services compared to just a 10% premium for 5G connectivity. 40 million users could take up 5G in the first year when it is made available.

The report has increased forecasts for Southeast Asia and Oceania, as well as for India. India will remain a region with one of the highest monthly usages per smartphone rates, at around 15 GB at the end of 2020. Competitive pricing by service providers for subscription packages, affordable smartphones, and increased time spent online are factors that contribute to monthly usage growth in the region. Total mobile data traffic in India has grown from 6.9 exabytes (EB) per month to 9.5 EB per month in 2020 and is projected to increase by more than four times to reach 41 EB per month in 2026.

As OpenGov Asia reported, in May, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) announced it would allow telecommunication service providers (TSPs) to conduct trials for the use and applications of 5G technology for six months. The six-month trial period includes a two-month period to procure and set up the equipment. 5G trial spectrum allocations have been made in the 700MHz, 3.5GHz, and 26GHz bands. After this allocation, a private telecom provider began its mid-band 5G trial network in the Gurgaon Cyber Hub. Another provider also began its own trial network using indigenous 5G gear.

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