Data consumption in India is “expected to grow over three-fold to 40GB per smartphone” by 2025, says Doron Arazi, chief executive officer at Ceragon Networks, a company that offers wireless backhaul and fronthaul solutions. Arazi said that India with over 62 crore internet users has the “world’s second largest user base” and that the user base is also set to increase to 90 crores by 2025. The CEO at Ceragon Networks revealed that the company has around 50% market share in India and that Ceragon Networks is the “indisputable market leader” in the country.
Ceragon Networks Expects 5G Commercial Launch in India in Late 2022
Further, Arazi in the second quarter earnings call on August 2, 2021, said that the second quarter bookings for Ceragon Networks were the “highest in three years, especially North America, Europe, and India.” The company earlier announced its second quarter results, with Ceragon Networks recording US$68.6 million (around Rs 510 crores) in revenue in the quarter, translating to an 9.9% year-over-year (YoY) increase.
“In India, our strongest region in terms of booking, multiple Tier 1 operators placed follow-on orders for which we will support multiple network expansion projects to help providing nationwide coverage, and prepare operators' network for 5G,” Arazi said in the second quarter earnings call.
In late July, Ceragon Networks announced that it “received follow-on orders from multiple Tier 1 mobile operators in India” worth over US$35 million (around Rs 260 crores) in its second quarter. The company said the “large network expansion projects” placed by the telecom operators in India were “prompted by several triggers” including the spectrum auctions held in March. Additionally, Ceragon Networks said that the work-from-home and the study-from-home practices caused by the COVID pandemic was the “second trigger” for the operators to place bulk network expansion equipment orders.
Ran Vered, chief financial officer at Ceragon Networks in the second quarter earnings call also said that the company witnessed “very strong bookings coming from North America, India and Europe.”
“The increase [in revenue] is mainly attributed to strongest sales in North America and India,” Vered said in the second quarter earnings call. “Our strongest region in terms of revenues for the quarter was India, reflecting ongoing deliveries for our main customers in the region.”
Arazi said that the 5G trials in India are “planned for the second-half of 2021” and that the “5G spectrum auction is expected in the first-half of 2022,” with the “commercial launch by the second-half of 2022.” The CEO at Ceragon Networks said that the 5G rollout in India will “further expand digital revolution” and that “there will be a demand for higher capacity in all corners of the country.” Crucially, Arazi said that Ceragon Networks “will be there to meet” the additional demands in India.
“Indian operators are testing different E-band Solutions, and ours are getting a lot of traction,” Arazi said. “I believe the combination of our market leadership position, our strong brand name, plus what's unfolding in the country will translate to more business for us.”
Delayed 5G Launch Has Multiple Benefits: Ookla
It has to be noted that multiple reports in the recent months including Ericsson Mobility Report have suggested that the data consumption and the smartphone user base would increase in India. In June, Ericsson, a communication service provider in its mobility report said that the average data consumed by users in India is set to hit around 40GB per month in 2026. The company said that the average data consumed by a smartphone user was at 14.6GB per month in 2020, up from 13GB per month in 2019.
The report also highlighted that the smartphone subscriptions will increase from 81 crores in 2020 to over 120 crores in 2026, with 4G user base increasing from 68 crores to 83 crores. Further, the Ericsson Mobility Report highlights that the 5G user base in India will touch 33 crores at the end of 2026.
In mid-August, Ookla, the company behind the Speedtest platform in a report highlighted that the “three major” telecom operators in India are all “busy conducting 5G trials” across the country. The firm also highlighted that the operators in the 5G trials have “achieved very impressive 5G speeds.” While Ookla highlights that the country “clearly lags behind markets that have already begun 5G deployment,” it said that the delay in 5G launch does have multiple benefits including “lower 5G smartphone prices.”