No Services Yet, But India is 4th Largest Market for 5G Phones

India is nowhere close to launching 5G services but it has already become the fourth largest market for smartphones supporting the next gen technology in terms of shipments, according to market research firms.

The country was behind only China, USA and Japan in terms of 5G smartphone shipments in the April-June 2021 period, with the lowest average selling price at $ 410(Rs. 30,448) said IDC.

This, even as Reliance Jio Infocomm, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea are still piloting 5G networks and auction of supporting airwaves is not due until early 2022.

“The Chinese market is pushing the ecosystem. Brands are making more SKUs (stock-keeping units) and players like Mediate are bringing affordable chipsets which is helping the market to open up,” Navkendar Singh, research director, client devices and IPDS, IDC India told ET. “There is a device-first strategy because the ecosystem is driven by China and they are ahead of the curve.”

IDC expects India to clock around 40 million 5G smartphone shipments, about 24% of the total, by the end of 2021, up from around 3.5 million in 2020. Counterpoint Research expects around 32 million 5G smartphone, around 19% of the total, while Cyber Media Research (CMR) expects the figure to be 25-30 million.

“The rise of 5G has been faster than any other wireless standard before it, enjoying strong adoption across key markets like Chine, the US and Europe. India is a bit different where even without the network roll –out the devices are already being sold in the market,” Tarun Pathak, research director at Counterpoint Research, told ET.

The share of 5G smartphone crossed 14% in the Counterpoint Research, while CMR India put the figure at 13%.

Prabhu Ram, head-industry intelligence group at CMR India said, “As we move ahead, we believe 5G will continue to accelerate and diffuse further to more accessible and lower price tiers.”  S-ET

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