It was around 2015 that we started to witness the convergence of 2G and 3G networks in the country, with 4G sprouting alongside. However, come 2016, Reliance Jio completely changed the picture, with the dominance of 4G networks suddenly shooting up in the country, and the adaption of 2G slowly going down. And now, in a recently released report, researchers suggest that by June 2019, there will by zero 2G users in India, and that it attributes this to the rise of Reliance Jio.
According to CyberMedia Research, Jio’s entry into Indian telecom has massively increased the ‘decline in wireless narrowband users’, due to which by the second quarter of 2019, 2G users will be shrunk to negligible numbers. This will effectively signify the end of a network standard which introduced Internet to Indian mobile phones. The report notes that that decline of 2G users in India has been happening at a pace of three percent year on year, but Jio’s entry propelled this decline by four times.
“…after Jio’s entry, the projections indicate that by the first quarter of 2020, India would have zero subscribers using 2G internet services. This advance is because of the exponential growth in the decline rate after Jio on the scene, which has been 12 percent average every quarter,” the report reads.
Jio’s entry has propelled the decline of 2G by four times
Having said that, the report does acknowledge that despite the “negligible number” of 2G users in the country, there will be a small, albeit niche usage of the network standard. For instance, there are a few Internet of Things (IoT) applications where 2G connectivity would be enough to carry on the tasks, and high-speed 3G or 4G speeds won’t be needed.
“Operators shall have to understand these consumers ( feature phone users) deeply and engage with them to manoeuvre them up the ladder,” the report notes, where “up the ladder” presumingly means a little bit of a harder push in the market for cheaper 4G phones and affordable tariff plans.