CMR’s Annual 4G LTE Devices India Market Review Report 2017 has been released, and it says that 4G LTE device shipments in India grew at an impressive 80 percent year-on-year. The total shipments reached 148.3 million units in 2017.
The report highlights that 4G LTE accounted for 50 percent of the overall device shipments, dominated by Chinese brands. Indian and other global brands accounted for 24 percent of the 4G LTE shipments, with others grabbed three percent of the share. The growth of 4G LTE device shipments is noteworthy as the country takes its first steps towards 5G adoption. Amongst data cards, 99 percent of the shipments in CY2017 were 4G LTE enabled data cards. On the other hand, 4G LTE enabled mobile handset shipments accounted for 47 percent of the total mobile handset shipments, while 4G LTE tablets contributed 39 percent of the total tablet shipments in India.
Part of the progress is attributable to the affordability of device and data in the country. In particular, the commercial launch of the Reliance Jio 4G services late last year has significantly and almost instantly changed the device and data consumption pattern in India’s urban as well as rural regions.
Commenting on the trends, Prabhu Ram, Head – Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR said, “In 2017, Chinese brands grew aggressively with 143 percent sequential growth, thereby, contributing to 1 in every 2 4G LTE device shipped in India. The Chinese success story in India can be traced to their keen and clear understanding of the needs of the discerning Indian customers, and offering them, with the latest specs at affordable price points.”
If we look at the brands in 4G LTE category, Samsung remained at the top spot for 2017 with a market share of 21 percent. Followed by Xiaomi with 18 percent, and surprisingly Reliance’s LYF brand at 14 percent market share. The report highlights that LYF is the only Indian brand in the list shipping 4G LTE handsets. This stands in contrast to recent analysis where Xiaomi stood out as the leader in the Indian smartphone market, followed by Samsung and then Lenovo. According to the CMR report, Lenovo dominated the tablet market with 41 percent market share, followed by Samsung with 19 percent, and iBall with 15 percent.
Ram further said that Reliance Jio’s JioFi devices disrupted the 4G data card market in CY2017, contributing to the availability of LTE network capabilities. The analysts expect the recent trend of 4G feature phones, bundled offering by telecom operators at the entry-level prices, will further help in the growth of 4G LTE devices in the country.
It is worth mentioning that the price war in the Indian smartphone market is heating up than ever before. Other than the periodic price cuts and revisions of data plans, the telecom operators have tied up with smartphone manufacturers to offer smartphones with lucrative cashback, making phones more affordable, all the while selling their bundled plans as well. Some of these include the Reliance Jio Football Offer, Airtel’s Mera Pehla Smartphone initiative, and Idea Cellular’s similar cashback schemes on new 4G smartphones.
The report further stresses that the key segments of 4G usage in consumer space will continue to be entertainment, social networking, and OTT apps. Narinder Kumar, Lead Analyst, CMR, said,”Growing concept of IoT, Smart Homes and Smart Cities will further fuel 4G requirement in both B2B and B2C segments in the long run.”