GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions would decrease from the current 4 billion to 1.4 billion, a drop of 15%. Mobile LTE subscriptions, however, would grow by an overwhelming 40%. Currently, there are approximately 500 million subscribers globally, and this number is expected to touch 3.7 billion by 2020.
Monthly data traffic is also expected to rise significantly from 3.3 EB/month to a whopping 30.5 EB, a gain of 45%.
Surprisingly, the report said Indians spend over 3 hours a day on their smartphones. This stands the same as last year’s report, pointing at increased data consumption per user.
The India appendix of the Ericsson Mobility Report shows key trends and forecasts on mobile traffic, subscriptions, consumer behaviour and technology uptake in the country.
GSM/Edge subscriber base is expected to peak in 2015 and likely to decline thereafter as subscribers migrate to 3G services, the report said.
GSM/Edge technology has the widest reach in India with 95% population coverage while WCDMA/HSPA is expected to cover approximately 90% by the end of 2020. Additionally, around 40% of the population will be covered by LTE networks by 2020.
“Affordability of smartphones will drive the overall affordability of mobile broadband in India,” the report stated.
The number of smartphone subscriptions is expected to reach over 750 million by 2020, up from 130 million in 2014.
“The continued growth in smartphone subscriptions will lead to an accelerated growth in data usage. Monthly mobile data consumption is expected to increase 18-fold by the year 2020 over current levels,” the report said.
Video streaming accounts for the most used mobile data service among Indians, followed by social networking, the report noted.
Interestingly, the proportion of people aged over 50 who use smartphones quadrupled between 2013 and 2015, albeit from a small base. During the same period, there was a threefold growth in the proportion of 31-40 year-old mobile data users, it noted.