4G subscriber base in India to cross 800 million: Crisil

The 4G subscriber base in India is expected to cross 800 million by March 2022, according to Crisil.
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The addition of 4G subscribers during this fiscal will be more than in the last fiscal because of higher competitive intensity in the sector.

India’s 4G subscriber base is expected to have increased to 710-720 million in fiscal 2021 compared to 645 million in 2020.

Meanwhile, smartphone shipments in India increased 11 percent in Q1 2021 to 37.1 million units, as favorable macroeconomic factors helped smartphone vendors capitalize on the growing importance of smartphones for remote education for Generation Z and for work and leisure for Millennials, says a report from Strategic Analytics.

The acquisition of spectrum by telcos in March 2021 auction has led to three major players — Airtel, Jio and Vodafone Idea — almost achieving spectrum parity as they are comparable in terms of MHz/million subscriber metric.

Additionally, over the last two years, incumbent operators like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have re-farmed 3G spectrum for 4G use across a majority of circles, leading to significant 4G capacity addition, Crisil said.

The current zero interconnect usage charges regime will push incumbent operators having 2G/3G operations to migrate to 4G-only network to reduce operating costs.

Mobile operators will focus on gaining / retaining / upgrading the 250-300 million active non-4G subscriber base, comprising mostly non-data users sporting feature phones.

Individual players will most likely increase tariffs on selected plans given their immediate need to improve ARPU.