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India - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 14 May 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 193

Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in India’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the Telecoms Infrastructure, mobile, fixed broadband, Digital Media and Digital Economy sectors. Subjects include:

  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  • Regional market comparisons
  • Telecoms Maturity Index
  • Data centres and smart Infrastructure;
  • Major players, revenues, subscribers, ARPU;
  • Broadband (FTTH, DSL);
  • Internet of Things, 5G developments
  • Mobile, broadband and mobile broadband forecasts to 2023-4.

Executive Summary

India grows rapidly in the IoT, Smart Cities and data centre markets

The mobile market continues to be the main focus of the Indian telecom sector. India’s mobile market continues to get the bulk of local capital expenditure as the operators expand their infrastructure.

India has the potential to become one of the five largest data centre markets globally. In the last few years, there has been a radical shift in the way Indians produce and consume data. A number of government initiatives and regulations will see further increases in the number of internet users and enforce strict data residency laws that will require vastly more data centre capacity. There will be a rapid increase in the rate in which on-premise facilities are being outsourced to third-party data centres, especially as cloud computing continues to grow.

India's telecom industry is expected to see a major expansion of its network infrastructure during the 2019 to 2022 period. Each of the top three mobile operators: Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone-Idea are now planning to extend coverage to address a surge in data consumption.

The fixed line market in India remains highly underdeveloped due to the dominance of the mobile segment. Further, the number of fixed telephone lines is slowly declining as the mobile segment continues to expand.

India’s fixed broadband market remains highly under-developed due to the dominance of the mobile platform and in turn by the uptake of mobile broadband. Fixed broadband penetration is expected to grow at a moderate rate over the next five years to 2024 from this very small base.

Newcomer Reliance Jio began offering its home broadband service, one of four engines of connectivity revenue for Jio, the other three being nationwide IoT, enterprise broadband and broadband for small and medium businesses.

The digital economy will help the country align to its goals of expanding the wider Indian economy as well as enhancing jobs. Sectors such as communications, including telecoms, IT services, eCommerce, FinTech and electronics manufacturing, are growing at a good pace, and in the coming years these sectors will expand further contributing to the country’s digital economic growth.

The Department of Electronics & Information Technology of India published its Internet of Things policy estimating the IoT industry in India will grow very strongly. Focus areas include agriculture, health, water quality, natural disasters, transportation, security, automobile, supply chain management and smart cities.

India’s mobile market dominates the local telecom sector with its large subscriber base and revenue numbers, as well as the huge capital investment by operators. It has continued to be a highly competitive market in which a large number of providers have been battling to increase market share.

India’s mobile market has experienced very strong growth over the last six years. The market remains highly competitive, but rather than a focus only on growth in subscribers the market is shifting to value-added. The roll-out of 4G / LTE services is driving significant shift to mobile data services across the country.

Particularly strong growth was seen as newcomer Reliance Jio aggressively entered the market, initially with a free data offering. This has seen a sharp drop in ARPU amongst most mobile operators and a sharp loss of subscribers by some operators. The subsequent price war in the mobile sector intensified further and has severely hampered RCOM’s business in particular, with its subscriber base nearly entirely wiped out.

Slower growth is predicted over the next five years to 2024. The market will be constrained from higher growth due to very strong local competition and an increasingly saturated mobile market.

Mobile broadband penetration has grown strongly in India over the past few years, driven by a strong and growing mobile subscriber base and strong adoption of 4G LTE services. Further strong growth is predicted over the few years, driven by further adoption of 4G and soon 5G services particularly as the penetration rate is well below a number of other nations.

India has taken initial steps towards the eventual rollout of 5G services. and has announced plans to establish a 5G corridor in New Delhi as part of its testing of the technology.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key Developments

  • The adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) in India has been advancing slowly with Indian enterprises.
  • India has the potential to become one of the five largest data centre markets globally.
  • India's telecom industry is expected to see a major expansion of its network infrastructure during the 2019 to 2022 period.
  • India has taken initial steps towards the eventual rollout of 5G services.
  • BSNL has partnered with Ciena to conduct field trials of 5G technology.
  • Mobile broadband penetration has grown strongly in India.
  • Fixed broadband penetration is expected to grow at a moderate rate over the next five years to 2024.
  • Assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector.

Key companies mentioned in this report:

Aircel, Bharti Airtel, Loop Mobile (BPL Mobile), Vodafone Idea, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices, Videocon, S Tel, Bharti Telenet, Reliance Infocomm, Tata Teleservices, Sistema (Shyam Telelink), Swan Telecom, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL), Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), Spectra, Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJI), Sistema,

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