Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio Infocomm will be leading the country’s 4G LTE market with 40 percent market share by 2019-2020, while the share of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular will reach 60 percent by 2019-20, up from 53 percent in 2016-17, a report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch said.
The brokerage firm however said that Jio may find it difficult to poach high-end subscribers from Airtel, Idea and Vodafone if it further delays the launch of 4G services in the country. Jio has already delayed its commercial 4G launch to early next financial year from December this year.
The brokerage firm said that Jio would need to focus on offering a differentiated service as aggressive pricing alone would not be able to help the telco gain a sustainable advantage.
Reliance Jio holds the highest amount of liberalised spectrum among telecom operators which can be used for deploying any technology for mobile services. It has a total of 751.1 MHz spectrum across 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz bands, and plans to provide seamless 4G services using LTE in 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz bands through an integrated ecosystem.
Jio recently filed intimation for sharing of spectrum in the 800MHz band with RCom across seven circles to telecom department (DoT).
The Indian 4G subscriber base is estimated to reach 90 million by 2017-18, while the 4G smartphone base will jump from 5 million in 2015-16 to 180 million by 2017-18, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said, adding that there will be a faster acceleration towards 4G with a large proportion of 2G subscribers leapfrogging 3G to move to 4G.
The brokerage firm expects 4G net additions to be faster than 3G net additions by 2018-19. “3G subs to be largely restricted in areas where 4G coverage is limited,” the firm said.