India to have 1bn unique mobile subscribers by 2020: GSMA
India, being the world’s second largest smartphone market is expected to have almost one billion unique mobile subscribers by 2020, a report by Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) said.
In the report titled ‘The Mobile Economy: India 2016′ GSMA said that at the end of June 2016, 616 million unique users had subscribed to mobile services in India. It added that India is also seeing an ongoing technology shift to mobile broadband services and the number of 3G/4G mobile broadband connections is expected to reach more than 670 million by 2020, 48 per cent of the total connection base.
“With this report, all signs point to a period of tremendous growth for India’s mobile economy, which will strongly support and enable the government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative aimed at providing broadband connectivity to all,” Mats Granryd, director general of GSMA, told reporters.
It has been noted that the number of 4G connections will grow rapidly, moving from just three million at the end of 2015 to 280 million by 2020. In addition, the industry is set to invest heavily, with operator CAPEX growing to $34 bilion for the period 2016 to 2020, the report noted.
It has been recorded in 2015, that the country’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.This figure accounts for both the direct economic activity generated by mobile operators and the ecosystem of mobile industries in the country.
The findings of the report showed that this contribution is expected to grow to $210 billion (Rs 14 lakh crore) by 2020. As of mid-2016, around 430 million people had access to mobile internet services, which is expected to rise to almost 670 million viz half of the population by 2020.
However, this still lags the regional average of 63 per cent penetration and according to the lack of awareness and locally relevant content are the biggest barriers to internet usage.
“GSMA research showed that South Asia has the highest gender gap globally in mobile phone ownership and that women in India are estimated to be 36 per cent less likely to own a mobile than men, translating into an estimated 114 million fewer women who are benefiting from mobile services,” Granryd noted.
It has to be noted that through the “Connected Women Commitment Initiative”, operators are working to increase the proportion of their female customers, supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 5 which focuses on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.