GSMA India has come out with a report that puts forth some interesting growth numbers for mobile Broadband connections in India. According to the press release India is slated to become 2nd largest Mobile Broadband market globally in next four years with 367 million Mobile Broadband connections by 2016. With those kind of numbers, India will overtake the US and will be second only to China who are expected to have a whooping 639 million mobile broadband connections.
What is even more surprising is the expected growth of 3G in next 2 years – The report states that 3G connections, currently at 10 million, will grow exponentially by 900 percent, to touch 100 million by 2014. With those numbers India will become the largest HSPA market, surpassing China, Japan and the US in the process.
The Director General of GSMA Anne Bouverot shared an interesting insight – She mentioned:
A 10 per cent increase in Mobile Broadband penetration could contribute as much as US$80 billion (INR 3,506 billion) of revenue across the country’s transport, healthcare and education sectors by 2015.”
Our take: Although the report puts forth some rosy figures in terms of Mobile Broadband growth, ground reality is quite different. 3G has not seen the kind of growth expected after 3G licenses were first awarded to mobile operators in India in September 2010. Infact, mobile operators are still struggling to offer stable and fast 3G connections on their network. Many subscribers have switched back to GPRS/Edge connectivity after using 3G, as they have been extremely dis-satisfied with the connectivity.
Additionally, the 3G prices in India are still very high comparatively making it unaffordable to majority of mobile users. The growth numbers put across by the report can only be achieved if 3G prices come down drastically, which at present moment looks quite difficult as the operators have to recover huge sums they have paid to Government for acquisition of spectrum. Indian Telecom Operators will also have to improve the 3G services on their network.