5G subscriptions are expected to reach 130 million in India by the end of 2023. According to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report of Nov 2023, the number of 5G subscriptions in India by the end of 2029 would be 860 million. This would mean that by the end of 2029, over 68% of the mobile subscriptions would be 5G. For now, 4G continues to be the dominant network technology in the country. But from 870 million subscriptions in 2023, the overall 4G subscriptions would come down to 390 million by 2029. The total mobile subscriptions in India are estimated to reach 1.27 billion in 2029, said Ericsson.
"Ericsson together with our partners has enabled one of the fastest 5G network deployments across the world and today we are seeing strong 5G adoption in the country. Our global deployment experience and technology leadership has enabled us to support India in its 5G journey," said Nitin Bansal, head of Ericsson India.
Because of a rise in overall 5G subscriptions, the average data that is being consumed today by a user will also go up significantly. Ericsson's report said that the average data traffic per smartphone in India is the highest currently. From 31GB in 2023, the figure is expected to reach 75GB per month in 2029. Total mobile data traffic is expected to jump from 26EB in 2023 to 73EB in 2029.
Further, more users will shift from a feature phone to a smartphone. The total smartphone subscriptions in India as a percentage of total mobile subscriptions are expected to grow from 82% in 2023 to 93% in 2029. At present, 5G is being offered for free in India to 4G customers who are recharging with select prepaid plans.
Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, two leading Indian telcos are the only companies who have launched 5G for now. Vodafone Idea is expected to join the 5G train in the future. This would mean that Vi's customers would also be exposed to 5G and the total 5G subscriptions would certainly go up rapidly.