2022 was a year of big growth for the Indian telecom industry. The government raked in Rs 1.5 lakh crore in revenues from the 5G spectrum auctions, and private telecom operators started rolling out 5G in multiple cities. Ookla, a network insights and intelligence company, has released a report citing the telecom trends in India in 2023. The insights have been given by Sylwia Kechiche, Principal Analyst, Enterprise at Ookla. Take a look at the insights below.
Improved Mobile Download Speeds
It will not be a surprise to anyone that mobile download speeds in India will improve in 2023. This is because of multiple reasons, including the rollout of 5G as well as the 4G expansion. Ookla said that median mobile download speed in India in Nov 2021 was 14.39 Mbps, and it went up to 18.26 Mbps in November 2022. India also climbed seven spaces in the Speedtest Global Index ranking from 112th place in November 2021 to 105th place in November 2022.
Quick 5G Rollout to Add Subscribers
Kechiche said that commercialising 5G and winning consumers will be a priority for telecom operators in 2023. This is true as even Airtel's CEO, Gopal Vittal, said that 5G presents an opportunity for the company to add subscribers in the short term. Both Jio and Airtel are rolling out 5G at a rapid pace to cover the entire nation as fast as possible. Kechiche noted that BSNL also plans to upgrade the 4G technology stack to 5G. Ookla's consumer survey suggests that 48% of the respondents want to upgrade to 5G as soon as it is available in their area.
Right now, only Airtel and Jio are rolling out 5G. Vodafone Idea (Vi) customers would either have to go to Airtel or Jio's network to experience 5G on their mobiles.
Satcom to Disrupt Indian Telecom Landscape
Satellite communications (Satcom) would disrupt the Indian telecom landscape in 2023, believes Kechiche. Jio Satellite Communications Ltd and OneWeb have already received a GMPCS license under the unified license by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). More companies, such as Starlink, want to penetrate the Indian market with their satellite broadband services, as India is still a market where fixed broadband connections have just reached 10% of households. India’s National Broadband Mission highlights satellite as part of the technology mix to extend broadband connectivity across India.
Regarded as one of the best use cases of 5G, the 5G FWA (fixed wireless access) has been pretty successful in markets such as South Africa, the United States and the Philippines, said Kechiche. The interest in 5G FWA is growing in India as well. Reliance Jio has already showcased its FWA product called JioAirFiber at the India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2022. However, the commercial availability of the product is still unknown.