The 2G or GSM/EDGE subscriber base will decline after 2016 due to operator initiatives to migrate 2G subscribers to 3G, decreasing handset prices and bundling of data with devices, according to Ericsson Mobility Report India edition. The report also said that the population coverage of 4G LTE networks in India is expected to reach 45%, while 3G or WCDMA /HSPA population coverage will reach 90% by the end of 2021 in India.
The WCDMA/HSPA and LTE (3G and 4G) networks are expected to gain momentum, and the subscriptions will together account for 65% of Indian subscriptions by 2021. According to the report, Indian mobile subscriptions will reach around 1.37 billion by 2021. Mobile broadband is set to dramatically increase, with smartphone subscriptions and total mobile traffic expected to increase four-fold and fifteen-fold respectively from 2015 to 2021 – reaching 810 million smartphone subscriptions and mobile traffic of 4.5 ExaBytes (EB) per month, Ericsson findings reveal.
Data traffic per active smartphone is expected to increase five-fold from 1.4 GigaByte (GB) per month in 2015 to 7 GB per month by 2021. In 2021, 99%of the region’s mobile traffic will be from data, the report said. Total smartphone traffic is growing seventeen-fold to 4.2 EB per month by 2021. Data traffic for other devices is also growing steadily and is expected to increase four-fold, between 2015 and 2021 to around 170 PetaBytes per month.
As per the report, Indian smartphone users rate data as more important than voice, indicating the strong uptake of data services in the country. Data speed is considered to be the most important factor in determining both network performance and smartphone users’ satisfaction with their operator.
Mobile phone users in India give more importance to voice than data services, indicating that it is smartphone users who drive the need for better data services. Young smartphone users aged 15-24 years old drive the need for better data speed and data coverage and have a higher inclination to pay a premium for the same. Network performance increases consumer loyalty and drives consumers towards choosing a particular mobile operator. User experience is expected to improve across all locations, with growing WCDMA /HSPA population coverage and LTE services being rolled out in India.
In India, streaming music and watching videos are the most popular forms of entertainment on smartphones. Around 50%of smartphone users stream music on mobile apps every week, and more than one in two internet users watch short online video clips on a weekly basis.
Among Indian smartphone users, WhatsApp Messenger is the top mobile app, in terms of the number of Indian consumers, followed by Google Search and YouTube. E-commerce apps such as Flipkart, Paytm and Snapdeal are growing in popularity in India.
The report said that file sharing app Xender is the top mobile app by average monthly data usage, followed by file sharing app SHAREit and the YouTube video sharing app.