India: Go for Broadband Wireless

The Indian telecom market is among the largest and fastest growing globally, says Telecom Lead, with over 900 million mobile subscribers. It is the 2nd largest telecom market in the world (after China), and third-largest sector in India.

It remains largely untapped for services and applications beyond voice, although it faces challenges in hyper competition; leading to low Average Revenue per User (ARPU), lack of infrastructure, and under penetrated rural areas. These challenges notwithstanding, the emergence of smartphones, 3G-enabled handsets, and introduction of TD-LTE networks promise fast growth in the future.

The middle-class population in India is expected to reach 267.0 million by 2015-16, according to a report by the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER). That population is expected to rise to 547.0 million, with more than 110.0 million households by 2025-26, sparking a rising demand for mobility and related services.

Frost & Sullivan expects that by 2017, the smartphones installed base will reach 361.3 million units and the Tablet PC installed base will reach 23.39 million units, with close to 1.5 Billion telecom subscribers expected in India by 2020.

More than 100 million broadband (HSPA) connections are expected in India by 2014. This will make India the largest HSPA market worldwide within the next two years, surpassing China, Japan and the US in the process.

According to Evalueserve, India’s 3G subscriber base will grow at 30% CAGR to reach 200 million by 2016. According to a recent study by the GSMA’s Wireless Intelligence service, despite a large rural population, mobile growth in India is being largely driven by more affluent communities in cities.

The first TD-LTE service was launched in April 2012 by Bharti Airtel. Bharti Airtel is India’s largest mobile operator, and the 3rd largest mobile operator in the world, behind China Mobile and China Unicom.

The 16-day Indian broadband auction in 2010 generated a total of 383 billion rupees ($8.2 billion). The Indian government raised $14.6 billion from a third-generation spectrum auction a month earlier. India uses the 2.3 GHz band and TD-LTE for broadband wireless.

Besides offering rich content, Airtel plans to give customers fast access to high-definition (HD) video streaming, multiple chatting, and instant uploading of photos, and also to bridge the country’s digital divide.

India had 13.5 million broadband subscribers at the end of February 2012, according to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. The number of mobile subscribers were far higher at 911 million.

With Infotel (Reliance) and Qualcomm going with TD-LTE, and cellular operators Bharti and Aircel buying another 12 BWA slots, India is strongly committed to TD-LTE.

Airtel’s TD-LTE network was launched by telecom minister Kapil Sibal (right).

Only nine million of India’s 1 billion people have access to broadband. India’s Department of Telecoms hopes the country will have about 48 million broadband users by 2012, and 100 million by 2014.

Wired broadband is clearly being out paced by wireless broadband (both HSPA and LTE) which may cumulatively total close to 4 billion users worldwide by 2016.

Related Dailywireless articles include; LTE-Advanced: Upsetting the Apple Cart?, China: 1 Billion Mobile Activations, India: HSPA King by 2016, India’s Broadband Auction: It’s Done, Qualcomm Gets Indian Partners, Vendors Scramble for Indian Backhaul, TD-LTE: It’s Alive!, China Mobile + Clearwire + Apple?, World’s First TD-LTE Service Launched by Mobily, Clearwire Chooses LTE Advanced, Yota: Planetary LTE Swap, 4G: One Third of All Smartphones, LTE Situation Report, Broadband Subs 5B by 2015

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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