India will reportedly cross a milestone of 33 crore 5G users by 2026, according to Ericsson Mobility’s new report. While the projection does come ahead of India’s public 5G rollout, the report reveals a number of interesting data points in terms of the projected future of the Indian telecom industry. Among the key points, Ericsson Mobility states that over a quarter of India’s entire telecom subscriber base would have adopted 5G connectivity by 2026, and up to 4 crore users would have adopted 5G within one year of rollout of the new generation connectivity standard in the country. Interestingly, Ericsson Mobility states that even in a value sensitive market like India, consumers may be willing to pay almost 50 percent more than the present average cost, in order to avail 5G services with bundled digital content and more.
The Ericsson Mobility report states over the next five years, a total of 43 crore new users are expected to adopt smartphones, and therefore, join the 4G bandwagon in India. This may add up to account for 120 crore mobile phone users in total in India, by 2026. This is seemingly expected to lead to a proportionate rise in data consumption, too – India’s net data consumption is reported to be at 9.5EB (exabyte) per month in 2020, but is slated to grow to 41EB per month in 2026. In 2020, the per-user data consumption was reportedly at 14.6GB per month, and will apparently grow to up to 40GB per user per month by 2026.
By 2026, Ericsson Mobility states that 4G users will account for a total of about 66 percent of all mobile subscribers in the country, with 26 percent users set to adopt 5G connectivity. Smartphone connectivity is claimed to grow up to account for 98 percent of all mobile phone connections in the country, and 2G and 3G services are set to be discontinued and phased out in the coming years.
The data comes in at a time when Reliance Jio is set to roll out Jio 5G, the country’s first and indigenously developed 5G connectivity services. Bharti Airtel is also expected to roll out its 5G services in India, and it will be interesting to see how the telecom operators price 5G services in India, initially. Just like 4G, 5G is also likely to get a comparably more expensive start than its previous generation, but over time, should become ubiquitously more affordable for all.