NEW DELHI: India is likely to have 330 million 5G subscribers by 2026 and the monthly data consumption per smartphone is expected to grow over 3-fold to 40 gigabyte per smartphone, telecom gear maker Ericsson said in a report on Wednesday.

Average data consumption per smartphone at 14.6 GB per month in India continues to be the second-highest in the world, according to the Ericsson Mobility Report 2021.

"In the India region, 4G subscriptions are forecast to rise from 680 million in 2020 to 830 million in 2026. 5G will represent around 26 percent of mobile subscriptions in India at the end of 2026, estimated at about 330 million subscriptions," it added.

The report projects that 5G subscriptions to reach 3.5 billion, accounting for around 40 percent of all mobile subscriptions by 2026.

The company in a survey in India found that 42 percent 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, Ericsson India head and chief of Network Solutions for Market Area South East Asia Oceania and India Nitin Bansal said.

"50 percent consumers in India are willing to pay 50 percent more for 5G with bundled digital services compared to just 10 percent premium for 5G connectivity.40 million users could take up 5G in the first year when it is made available," Bansal noted.

Ericsson mobility report said the number of smartphone subscriptions was 810 million in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7 percent, reaching over 1.2 billion by 2026.

Smartphone subscriptions accounted for 72 percent of total mobile subscriptions in 2020 and are projected to constitute over 98 percent in 2026, driven by rapid smartphone adoption in the country.

Ericsson Mobility Report (EMR) Editor Patrik Cerwall said that traffic growth can be very volatile between years and can also vary significantly between countries, depending on local market dynamics.

"Data consumption in India is very high because people are using smartphone to work from home and also the penetration of smartphone is high in India," Cerwall said.

The report has increased forecasts for South East Asia and Oceania, as well as for India, with India remaining a region with one of the highest monthly usage per smartphone rates, at around 15 GB at the end of 2020.

"The average traffic per smartphone in the India region stands second-highest globally and is projected to grow to around 40 GB per month in 2026.

"An additional 430 million smartphone subscriptions are expected in India during the forecast period, taking the total to over 1.2 billion in 2026," the report said.
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