29/11/2016 6:29 PM IST | Updated 30/11/2016 9:09 AM IST

At 1.05 Billion Mobile Subscriptions, 81% Indians Are Connected: Ericsson Report

India added 15 million new subscribers in the last quarter alone.

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Farmer standing in green field and using touch screen mobile phone.

India's onward march towards better connectivity has achieved another milestone. The country now has 1,050 million mobile subscriptions as recorded by Ericsson Mobility report for November 2016. The report says that 81 percent Indians now have mobile subscriptions.

The research suggests that there are almost 7.5 billion mobile subscriptions in the world as of 2016. These figures include smartphones, smart PCs, tablets, and feature phones as well. The report predicts that by 2022 there will be 8.9 billion subscriptions in the world with Compound Annual Growth Rate of 2 percent.


Earlier this year, India overtook the US, becoming the country with the second largest number of Internet subscribers. India also became the second largest smartphone market in the world, overtaking the US again.

In the last quarter alone, India added 15 million mobile subscriptions, the most in the world. China followed with 14 million subscribers, Indonesia with 6 million, and Myanmar at 4 million additions. The recently released report by the International Data Corporation (IDC) suggests that Q3 was one of the most successful quarters in Indian mobile phone market. A record 30 million plus smartphones were shipped to India in this period.


Other key findings of the report concern the growth in network technology. The 5G technology will rise to the consumer level and by 2022 we will see more than 550 million subscribers of the technology. LTE (a 4G mobile communications standard) will also see a significant growth, with 2.7 billion customers predicted to be added to it. On the other hand, 3G and GSMA/EDGE will see a decline as consumers migrate to technologies with higher speeds and functionality.


The growth of LTE network will lead to 50 percent adoption among mobile subscribers in 2022. Right now, LTE and HSDA (3G) accounts for 60 percent of the subscriptions. In 2022, the prediction is that almost 90 percent of the subscriptions will be dominated by these two technologies. The Asia Pacific region will see almost 3x growth in the mobile broadband subscription area.

India will be a huge contributor to these trends given that the recently launched Reliance Jio network has added 50 million subscribers to its user base. However, it is quite likely that many Jio users already had mobile broadband subscriptions. The report underlines that in the coming six years, 1.4 billion subscribers will be added to Voice over LTE (VoLTE) network in the Asia Pacific region.

As the speed of Internet services increases, the amount of data consumed will go up to 10 GB per month by the average user by 2022 in Asia Pacific. In India, right now, the average broadband speed is 3.5 Mbps which puts the country at 114th position in the world.

The traffic will mostly be fueled by video content. Right now, video has 50 percent share of the traffic from mobile devices, while in 2022 the figure is expected to go up to 75 percent. The social networks come second, followed by audio content. In India, the video content is consumed on the go, powered by apps such as YouTube which allows users to take the video offline. Other content providers such as Hotstar and Hungama are also quite popular, and Amazon Prime will soon be launching in the country.