A new report by the global mobile industry body GSMA titled “The Mobile Economy: India 2016”, has predicted that India will see the total number of unique mobile subscribers increase from 616 million in June 2016 to 1 billion by 2020.
“At the end of June 2016, 616 million unique users had subscribed to mobile services in India, making it the second-largest mobile market globally, with almost one billion unique mobile subscribers1 expected by 2020” it stated. A unique subscriber is defined as a single customer who has subscribed to a mobile service but might possess more than one mobile phone.
It added that increasing affordability and telco industry investments in network infrastructure and quality of service could help increase the total numbers of unique subscribers in India by 330 million by 2020. This would increase India's network penetration rate to 68% of the population from 47% in 2015.
Predicting a surge in 4G connections, the report stated, “There will also be an accelerating move to 4G over this period. The number of 4G connections is forecast to grow rapidly, growing from just 3 million at the end of 2015 to 280 million by 2020.”
The report also projected a massive inflow of investments into the Indian telecom sector and stated that the operator CAPEX will grow to $34 billion (Rs.2.3 lakh crore) in the period 2016 to 2020.
The report added that the Indian mobile industry generated an economic value of up to 6.5% of the country’s GDP, amounting to over $140 billion (Rs.9 lakh crore). “The figure accounts for both the direct economic activity generated by mobile operators and the ecosystem of mobile industries in India. This contribution is expected to grow to $210 billion (Rs.14 lakh core) by 2020,” the GSMA report read.
GSMA estimated that mobile operators and the Indian mobile ecosystem were a source of direct employment for around 2.2 million people and generated around 1.8 million additional jobs in other sectors bringing the total number of jobs generated to nearly 4 million jobs in 2015.
“With this report, all signs point to a period of tremendous growth for India’s mobile economy, which will strongly support and enable the government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative aimed at providing broadband connectivity to all,” stated Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA.
He added, “To fully realise India’s tremendous market potential, review and reform in key areas, including modernising regulation and long-term planning for spectrum allocation, would accelerate mobile broadband access and adoption across the country.”