The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will auction 5G spectrum on July 26 in India. Even as the government continues to work on the 5G spectrum auction process, India’s top service providers are testing 5G in multiple locations, focusing on use cases for urban and rural consumers. And from a general user point of view, there is great anticipation for the launch of 5G services, which will take place around September.
Despite unfounded concerns about radiation levels or higher prices, the next generation of mobile broadband will boost the country’s mobile data usage by 29% and data revenue by 67% between 2020 and 2026, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
But most Indian consumers still seem uncertain about 5G adoption, considering the imminent rise in data charges and smartphone prices, especially in rural regions, most mobile subscribers will still be using 4G services. As a result, GlobalData predicts that only 27% of the country’s mobile subscribers (about 329 million) will use 5G services by 2026.
Jio, Airtel, VI and 5G
India’s leading telecom players – Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea – will participate in the 5G spectrum auction to expand their service offerings and increase revenues. The government expects to see 5G networks covering at least 20 cities and towns across the country by the end of 2022.
Priya Toppo, analyst on the GlobalData Thematic Intelligence team, said: “Airtel is already testing 5G equipment. However, questions remain as to whether it can afford to build 5G in a meaningful way. Reliance Jio’s huge financial resources and existing market position will likely enable it to gain a market-leading position. Vodafone Idea, on the other hand, is likely to struggle due to weakening customer base and financial position.”
Despite higher data prices, 5G promises superior quality of service compared to existing 4G networks. This should encourage digital companies, including edtech, healthtech, agritech, fintech and e-commerce, to further accelerate the adoption of 5G in India, the report said.