No 5G network but India’s 5G smartphone user base about to reach 40mn

5G smartphones userbase India
Image by DibasUA | Bigstockphoto

India’s 5G smartphone installed base or userbase will reach 40 million by December 2021, growing ten times over the same period last year, market trackers estimated. Interestingly, the growth is taking place when there is no clarity on the commercial rollout of 5G services in the country.

Market analysts believe that the 5G smartphone sales will cross 30% by volume and 50% by value in the ongoing festive season. The festive season sale kicked off during the first week of October when online platform giants Amazon and Flipkart announced their marquee Great India Festival and Big Billion Days sales. The season will end on November 4 with the Diwali festival.

Analysts said that the growth is also driven by an aggressive push by smartphone brands even as consumers themselves are looking to purchase future-proof smartphones. They said that Chinese smartphone brands like Realme, Oppo, OnePlus and Vivo are mainly launching 5G devices for differentiation and marketing purposes.

“5G installed base is expected to be around 40 million by 2021. 5G shipments will grow 10x in 2021 over 2020…China has helped a lot in getting the ecosystem moved to 5G. So, China-based brands are able to bring 5G phones at affordable mid-range,” Navkender Singh, research director at IDC was quoted as saying by the Economic Times.

Faisal Kawoosa, chief analyst at India-based market research firm, TechArc, said that Indian consumers are looking to make future-proof investments. He added that smartphone players have ensured that 5G smartphones are available across price points in the country.

5G smartphone sales will reach 28.3 million units in 2021, of which 12.7 million are expected to be sold during the October-December quarter, as per TechArc estimates.

Brands have launched 26 smartphones with 5G support since July 2021. TechArc’s Kawoosa told the publication that these smartphones are cumulatively expanding into 53 variants with different configurations of RAM-ROM.

Realme had the highest 5G smartphone market share, followed by OnePlus and Oppo. China’s BBK Electronics own all three brands.

Realme recently said that it would “massify” 5G technology by bringing sub-Rs 10,000 (sub-$134) 5G smartphones to the users in India next year to take on the likes of Samsung and Xiaomi.

Notably, India became the fourth largest market for 5G smartphones in the world in the April-June period. India was behind only developed countries like China, the USA, and Japan in terms of 5G smartphone shipments in the second quarter of the 2021 calendar year, as per market intelligence firm International Data Corporation (IDC) report.

In the last quarter of the year, 5G will be the preferred specification for Indian consumers. Experts said that Indians are now buying pricier smartphones which have helped grow the average selling prices (ASP) for devices in the country.

In India, Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea are still conducting trials of various 5G use cases in the country. Last week, all three telcos sought a year’s extension to conduct 5G trials, which, if allowed, would push the auction of 5G spectrum to the second half of 2022, or even later.

Jio and Airtel have said that their networks are 5G ready, and they will be able to roll out commercial 5G services within six months of spectrum auctions.

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