Ericsson’s latest mobility report states that the number of mobile broadband subscribers will increase by 2.6 billion in 2022. This results to adding 1 million new mobile broadband subscribers daily for the next six years. Mobile broadband covers 2G, 3G, 4G and this month’s report includes IoT connection as well. In the first quarter of 2017, a total of 107 million new mobile subscribers were added bringing the total subscription to 4.6 billion.
According to Ericsson’s report, mobile broadband subscriptions are growing by around 25 percent year-on-year which led to approximately 240 million in Q1 2017. Amongst the different mobile connections, LTE (4G) subscriptions gained the most increase with 250 new subscriptions in Q1 2017. Whereas under the WCDMA/HSPA (3G) around 10 million subscribers were added during the Q1 2017. As for the GSM/EDGE (2G) mobile connectivity, the subscriptions declined by 110 million. Smartphones played a big role in increasing the mobile broadband subscription as compared to other mobile devices. 55 percent of the total subscriptions in Q1 this year were for smartphones. Also, smartphones accounted for 80 percent of the total mobile phones sold in the same quarter.
The global mobile subscription report for this Q1 2017 was rather interesting for India as it topped in terms of net additions. During Q1 2017, India added over 43 million subscribers, followed by China with over 24 million and Indonesia with over 10 million subscribers. Ericsson’s report reads, “The strong subscription growth in India was mainly due to an attractive LTE “welcome offer” by one operator, with free voice and data.” ALSO READ: Indian smartphone user to consume 11GB data a month by 2022: Ericsson
The operator in quotes is Reliance Jio who has been adding subscribers to its 4G network. The welcome offer talks about the free data and calls Reliance Jio was offering during its launch phase. Although Reliance Jio has started paid services in April, it still maintains a strong subscriber base. Reliance Jio did hit a low mark in April as it recorded the lowest number of subscribers with 3.9 million. This has been the lowest addition ever since its commercial services launched in April. The mobile operator still stands strong as even with 3.9 million subscribers, it’s still the highest in the country, according to TRAI. ALSO READ: Reliance Jio hits lowest monthly subscriptions ever, adds 3.9 million customers in April 2017
Reliance Jio offers only 4G LTE and VoLTE network which is currently the leading network with the highest addition of subscribers. Competing telcos in the industry offer 4G, 3G and 2G at the same time. While subscribers remain on 4G connection, they can always move back to 3G or 2G to save data. ALSO READ: Reliance Jio has 90% Prime membership subscribers: Bank of America Merill Lynch report
Another notable mention adding to the increase in subscribers would be the easiness of purchasing a smartphone these days. The growing popularity of Jio’s 4G service led to the increase of smartphones with 4G VoLTE support in the budget range. India, being a price sensitive market, the budget segment of Rs 10,000 and below is the most popular one currently. The trend has now led to smartphones being available for purchase below Rs 10,000 and having all the basic features, more importantly 4G VoLTE. Reliance Digital itself offers the cheapest 4G VoLTE smartphone at Rs 2,999. ALSO READ: Telcos’ proposal to fix ‘floor rate’ for voice, data services may spell the end of Reliance Jio freebies