India to have 1bn mobile subscribers by 2020: Study

October 26, 2016 10:42 pm | Updated December 02, 2016 11:51 am IST - NEW DELHI: Operator capex

Driven by falling prices of devices and network coverage improvement, India is expected to have one billion unique mobile subscribers by 2020, according to a new study by GSMA.

According to the report, ‘The Mobile Economy: India 2016’, 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.

“Almost half the country’s population now subscribe to a mobile service. Improving affordability, falling device prices and better network coverage aided by operator investment will help deliver over 330 million new unique subscribers by 2020, taking the penetration rate to 68 per cent (up from 47 per cent in 2015),” according to the report.

The GSMA counts as unique mobile subscriber an individual, who may be using multiple mobile connections (SIMs).

The reports states that the number of 3G/4G mobile broadband connections is forecast to reach more than 670 million by 2020, 48 per cent of the total connection base.

“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,” it said.

Further, the report states that the industry is set to invest heavily, with operator CAPEX growing to $34 billion (Rs.2.3 lakh crore) for the period 2016 to 2020.

In 2015, India’s mobile industry generated economic value equivalent to 6.5 per cent of the country’s GDP, a contribution that amounts to more than $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,” GSMA said.

Additionally, it noted that mobile operators and the ecosystem provided direct employment to approximately 2.2 million people in India as well as indirectly supporting 1.8 million additional jobs in other industries and sectors that benefit from the activity of the mobile industry, particularly in the direct supply chain.

This brings the total impact of the mobile industry to nearly 4 million jobs in 2015, it said.

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