4G networks are almost everywhere in India, but there are still many rural towns that don’t have access to 4G services. This is because they are not the target market for the telcos. Laying fiber, setting up related infrastructure, and more things involved in rolling out 4G networks make it an expensive affair for the telcos. Getting a return on their investment in these rural areas can be a hard thing.
Right now, millions of Indians are still using legacy mobile networks. They are doing so because they don’t feel like they have any need for 4G. Further, most of them don’t even own a 4G smartphone to start with.
In terms of consumer revenues, telcos will benefit the most from 4G services. 5G networks are still a distant future for India. It will take at least three years or more before 5G can be a normal thing in the country.
4G Speeds Can be Improved
It is time for India to jump to 4.5G and 4.9G, which is very close to what 5G offers. In terms of the developed use cases of 5G, consumers won’t have much need for it. But with better 4G, people might be ready to pay even higher tariffs but get a better internet experience.
Further, the competition in the 4G market of India is only going to grow from here as the state-owned telecom operator, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), launches its 4G later in the year. BSNL’s 4G prepaid plans are expected to be cheaper than what users get with the private telcos.
Consumers will keep their focus on 4G only for years to come. Even Ericsson had said in its mobility report for India 2021 that 4G will be the dominant network for consumers in India till 2027 at least.
With 4G tariffs going up, the telcos are also benefitting from the higher ARPU (average revenue per user). Thus, there’s no reason why telcos won’t focus on growing 4G further. They have invested lakhs of crores for building 4G networks PAN-India, and they will want a good return out of it.