India to become 2nd largest 4G phone market after China next year

LTE-enabled smartphones accounted for 96% of the smartphones shipped into India in Q2 of 2017.

The Dollar Business Bureau 

With explosive growth recorded in data usage, led by lucrative offers from telecom operators such as Reliance Jio and Airtel, India is expected to become the second biggest 4G handset market by 2018, said a report by market research firm Counterpoint on Thursday. 

With a projected installed user base of around 340 million 4G handsets, India will take over the US as the second biggest market. Currently having a user base of 150 million, India is placed just behind China and the US, said the report. 

There is speculation that US would see the 4G installed base to rise 245 million from the current 225 million. India too is likely to witness an accelerated growth, led by rising usage of mobile Internet. 

The Chinese market would continue to rule the numbers with 780 million 4G devices users next year, increasing from present 740 million. 

“LTE-enabled smartphones accounted for 96% of the smartphones shipped into India in the second quarter of 2017. However, nearly half of these are still 2G or 3G enabled smartphones,” stated Counterpoint. 

The LTE installed user base for handsets reached over 150 million in India, placing the country just behind China and the US. 

“India is estimated to surpass US in next one year,” it said, while adding that another 150 million of 4G users are likely to take just half the time as feature phones with VoLTE will bring 4G services to lower price segments. 

The report pointed out that the shipments of mobile phones in India increased marginally to 65.7 million units in the quarter of April-June 2017 compared to the same period a year ago. 

During the second quarter of 2017, India shipped around 35.3 million units of feature phones and 30.4 million units of smartphones. 

“Although, shipments were impacted in anticipation of GST roll-out especially in June, retailers were quite hesitant in adding new stock into the channels during the last month even though there was some assurance from the OEMs to support pre-GST channel inventory clearance,” said Shobhit Srivastava, Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research. 

Further, the market is likely to revive the double digit growth figure before the festive season starts in the second half of this year, he added. 

Samsung is leading the smartphone market in India with 24.1% share, followed by Xiaomi with 15.5% market share, Vivo with 12.7% share, Oppo with 9.6% and Lenovo 6.8%. 

The Dollar Business Bureau - Jul 28, 2017 12:00 IST