4G LTE device penetration is still low at 1.61% in India: Nokia Networks study

By November 4th, 2015 AT 4:58 PM

India currently has around 14.8 million capable subscribers who are using 4G phones, but 4G subscriptions are still significantly lower, according to a study released by Nokia Networks, which also said that 4G LTE device penetration is currently hovering around 1.61% in India.


1800 MHz enabled LTE devices leads with 1.45% penetration (13.3 million devices) followed by 2300 MHz enabled devices at 1.2% penetration. Mumbai, Delhi, Kerala Punjab, Karnataka have LTE device penetration– 1800 MHz using FD LTE technology–over 2% of their subscriber base, which is a significant opportunity, the study said.

“We see significant opportunity for operators for offering 4G as LTE handset penetration is increasing at affordable prices. There is a possibility of 4G leapfrogging 3G in terms of new subscriber addition, since the price point of LTE devices are expected to come done from Rs 8000 level to around Rs 4000 level in next few months,” Amit Marwah, Head of Technology, India Market, Nokia Networks, said.

The Nokia Networks study said that users of leading national operators have more LTE 2300 MHz devices and use latest handsets. It added that six out of ten top LTE devices are sub Rs 8,000 and are growing rapidly in the country.

According to Marwah, the year 2016 will see higher penetration of affordable LTE handsets across India. “It is imperative that India should have high quality 4G networks to provide a superior subscriber experience in this new generation of technology in the country,” he said.
On the 3G front, the country has witnessed 26% subscription growth in a span of six months, while the 3G penetration in India is only 24.59%, which ascertains that there is a huge opportunity for telecom operators to tap.

One in every four Indians or 225 million users already has an capable 3G device, supporting 2100 MHz band, in their hand, while 3G subscribers today are only at 100 million, which means only 45% 3G capable devices have 3G subscriptions in India, the report said.

“The strong push that most telecom operators have put in 2015 so far in expanding 3G network coverage must continue together with converting 2G subscribers to 3G. A significant population of subscribers today has 3G enabled devices which are still untapped,” Marwah said.

The report added that 144 million or 15.58% 3G phone penetrations are on 900 MHz, which can help boost 3G services in India in the 900 MHz band in future.
There is a huge potential in cities other than metros as well. Mumbai has the highest penetration of 3G, followed by Delhi.

As per the study, the top 5 circles as per 3G device penetrations are Mumbai, Delhi, Kerala, Punjab and Kolkata, while West Bengal, Bihar, UP (East), Assam and Orissa have the lowest 3G phone penetration – however there is huge subscriber population in these states and hence potential for 3G services is immense in these states.

An IT professional who has got great passion for telecom. Has been closely watching Indian telecom space since 2009.

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RoshithMatthewMahmood JunaidKiran FernandesMadhan Kumar Recent comment authors
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Kerala is in the list having highest 4G and 3G device penetration in India.Previous CGM of BSNL Kerala circle M.S.Rao was removed due to corruption charges by vigilance and new CGM took appointment today.Hope that new CGM will be honest and never go for compromise with private operators.Only god knows when will BSNL start expansion of proposed networks in such a potential market like Kerala.

Kiran Fernandes
Kiran Fernandes

thanks to airtel, Nokia Networks hit the nail on the head. Who wants to buy 10GB 4g packs when it can get over in 1 day and not downloading anything? A number of customers have experienced the worst 4g service from airtel when buying their wifi hotspot device… some dude paid for 10 gigs, and he hardly downloaded anything, and he got a bill shock too. and they think that 10GB is more than enough for 4g. I think they should understand that they should give 10GB at 70 bucks a month, 100GB at 1300 a month. Then that my… Read more »

Mahmood Junaid
Mahmood Junaid

Jio will be successful, but it will coexist with AVOID.. Smaller players are really going to be crushed… 2-3years from now I predict AVOID and Rjio-Rcom will be the main players and BSNL because of the governments commitment will stay as a white elephant with mounting losses…
You don’t expect Indian telecom sector to change in a fortnight that everyone moves to 4g… It will take time and till that 2g and 3g will be mainstream…

Kiran Fernandes
Kiran Fernandes

Jio won’t coexist with avoid because avoid is playing a different ball game here. They are more in for the money than for customer loyalty. If Jio didnt come in the market… 1. Airtel would not have started the 4G challenge 2. Airtel wouldn’t have gone for mass adoption of 4g like they are doing now rather than in 2013/2014. after launching in just Calcutta, Pune and Bangalore. 3. Vodafone and Idea wouldn’t have even bothered to start 4g till 2020. 4. Vodafone would not have stopped its prepaid program.(If you opt for a new sim, you will be allowed… Read more »

Mahmood Junaid
Mahmood Junaid

You have analyzed it wrongly. Main thing that Avoid and Jio was waiting for is for the development of ecosystem (availability of cheaper 4g phones). Back in 2012 when airtel launched 4g in Kolkata their was only a negligible few customers with 4g phones which can be assumed to zero. Now consider January 2014, you could only see 4g phones above 12000rs price mark. Now look at the present situation about 22 months past that you could see 4g phones just below 5000rs price mark. 3g phones became common in India when it touched price mark of 3000rs. Idea was… Read more »


You are mistaken ,BSNL will come back to profit.


When Vodafone start it’s own 3g in calicut

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