The much anticipated 5G spectrum auction in India is all set to begin on 26 July 2022. Despite the unfounded concerns around radiation levels or worries around higher prices, the next generation of mobile broadband will drive mobile data usage in the country by 29 percent and data revenue by 67 percent between 2020 and 2026, forecasts GlobalData, a data and analytics company.
Major telecom players in India – Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea – are reportedly keen to participate in the 5G spectrum auction to expand their service offerings and increase revenues. The government hopes to see 5G networks covering at least 20 towns and cities across the country by the end of 2022.
Priya Toppo, Analyst in Thematic Intelligence team at GlobalData, comments: “Airtel is already testing 5G equipment. However, questions remain over whether it can afford to build 5G meaningfully. Reliance Jio’s massive financial resources and existing market position will likely allow it to gain a market-leading position. Vodafone Idea, on the other hand, is likely to struggle due to its weakening customer base and financial position.”
As the majority of Indian consumers are still uncertain about the adoption of 5G, considering the imminent increase in data charges and smartphone prices, especially in rural regions, most of the mobile subscribers will still be using 4G services. As a result, GlobalData forecasts only 27 percent of the country’s mobile subscribers (around 329 million) will be using 5G services by 2026.
Toppo concludes: “Despite higher data prices, 5G promises superior service quality compared to the existing 4G networks. This should encourage digital businesses including edtech, healthtech, agritech, fintech, and e-commerce to further accelerate 5G adoption in India.”