Reliance Jio's entry into the Indian market was a disruption in many ways. The 4G-only telco changed the orientation of telcos from voice to data. CMR now predicts that 2G-based internet subscribers could go off the scene in India over the next decade, and also says their projections indicate that by the first quarter of 2020, India would have zero subscribers using 2G internet services.
"In the pre-Jio era, the decline in wireless narrowband users was taking place at a quarterly average of 3% that got spurred four times after its entry. Had the decline been continuing at 3% quarterly average, the forecast suggests 2G based internet subscribers could go off the scene in India over the next decade," said CMR India in a press statement.
Technology adoption and market acceptance would have propelled it signing off the last subscriber using narrowband wireless internet by around 2022, assuming 2G services would continue beyond 2020, it further added.
After Jio's entry, the projections drastically changed and they now indicate that by the first quarter of 2020, India would have zero subscribers using 2G internet services. This advance is because of the exponential growth in the decline rate after Jio on the scene, which has been 12% average every quarter.
Also, Jio stirred the market with a 4G-cellular capability feature phone. It's also expanding the 4G cellular capability by bundling offers with various entry-level smartphones. With all these moves, the pace towards 4G is becoming the default wireless internet access is on the rise. "This translates to effectively all wireless broadband users accessing the internet over broadband marking not only end with the addition of narrowband wireless subscribers but also increasing the declining rate," added the report.
Besides the 4G handsets becoming affordable, the declining prices per GB of 4G data and penetration of services in Tier 3 cities and rural geographies of the country is only going to further expedite the process of all subscribers accessing the internet over wireless to be on 4G or broadband.
CMR is predicting that all the above changing technology and market dynamics will advance the projected zero narrowband wireless (2G) internet subscribers by 2-3 quarters. This means India would become all wireless subscribers accessing the internet using 4G technology and mark end of the era of narrowband wireless internet users. Though the usage of narrowband wireless internet will not go as certain IoT applications like smart parking could efficiently work over the 2G infrastructure.
But to achieve this, operators shall have to focus on the 100 million existing 2G internet subscribers that existed as of September 2017. Telcos need to implement an upgrade program for them as per CMR, and it also said that these entry-level smartphone bundling offers might not suffice.