According to a top executive at Jio, there could be 100 to 150 million smartphones in India by the time they roll out the next-generation network. Rivals Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel are betting that the country will see quick progress in the fintech, education and the small and medium enterprise sector due to the early adoption of reasonably-priced 5G devices. Jio’s president of devices and mobility, Sunil Dutt said on Friday that there could be about 100 to 150 million 5G smartphones already existing in the country by the time of the networks’ rollout. Dutt attended the Indian Mobile Congress and was part of a panel.
He highlighted that there are already 500 million smartphone users that exist in the country today and this number will reach 600 million by the time the 5G network is introduced. The 5G auctions are expected to take place next year between April and May and 5G trials are being conducted by all telcos in the government allotted spectrum. Dutt said that they had already seen the impact of 4G in the country and 2G to 4G had resulted in a generational shift because 3G did not really have any significant impact. The 4G network had been launched by Jio back in 2016, whereas incumbents had still been offering 2G services.
In September, Jio also launched the JioPhone Next, which is an affordable 4G smartphone. The company highlighted that the key driving force for the sector would be affordability. He also said that affordability wasn’t just about how brands or even device manufacturers can make cheaper phones because they wouldn’t want to compromise on the devices. He said that it would be how the entire ecosystem could make affordability possible and he referred to the financing option that had been introduced with the launch of the JioPhone Next.
Raghavan Sampath was also part of the panel, who is the Business Development director of MediaTek, a semiconductor firm. He said that he expected that 4G and 5G phones would coexist. He added that handset makers were offering 5G phones today that had the same price tags as expensive or mid-range 4G devices, but he expected those price points to change. He said that 5G phones had already reached the level of Rs 15,000 and they would come down to Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000 by 2022. Bharti Airtel, Jio’s competitor, said that they expected cloud gaming to be one of the key driving forces of 5G’s popularity.
Airtel’s chief product officer, Adarsh Nair said that there was interest on both sides of the spectrum i.e. amongst developers who build the games as well as people who engage in cloud gaming. He added that they were also entering into partnerships with some publishers to see how these games would be a part of the 5G world. The company also believes that there would also be an increase in demand for enterprise businesses, once 5G technology is rolled out in the country and becomes more accessible to the people.