3G, 4G customers in India to Hit 300 MN by March 2018

3G and 4g customers in India have tripled in just 24 months to 120 million. As per the recent report by independent brokerage and investment firm CLSA, as affordability increases the market will grow big to 300 million by March 2018. The report also says that the current data tariffs limit usage, restraining the market for 3G and 4G to increase average revenue per unit (ARPU) subscribers.

By March 2018, the 300 million subscribers will account for 60% of sector revenues. The giant telecom operators Bharati Airtel and Reliance Jio which are the only operators with pan-India spectrum in 2,300 MHz are reported to lead this opportunity. The report states that the adoption of mobile broadband is uplifted with the tripling of 3G and 4G subscribers over the past two years to 120 million. Smartphone penetration, network speeds, availability of relevant content and data pricing greatly influence the mass adoption of 3G and 4G.

“We expect total smartphone population to rise from 220 million at present to 350 million by March 201, of which 210 million will be 4G, thus smartphone penetration is unlikely to be a constraint,” it said (CLSA Report).

Is 2018 going to be Fruitful to Bharati Airtel and Reliance Jio?

The report added, the point of rise in network speeds too is led by the aggressive 3G and 4G rollouts by operators. Availability of relevant content is multiplying, thus mass adoption of 3G and 4G services appears mainly constraint by current data pricing. Business research firm Bernstein said, Bharati Airtel reinforced its position for extra spectrum in 14 circles.

The report says that Airtel is well positioned, were as Vodafone and Idea are not and to be a part of the race, Idea needs to spend Rs. 40 billion to Rs. 120 billion this summer. Well, Vodafone is feasible to spend up to 160 billion.

“Bharti and Jio have the luxury of not needing spectrum. They can bid selectively this year and afford to sit out entirely. We believe both have their eye on the more attractive 700MHz band and are hoping it is re-auctioned next year at a lower reserve,” the report cited them as saying.


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