Early this year India’s mobile phone subscribers hit the 1 billion mark according to data released by the country’s telecom regulator. With India and China being the only countries with populations exceeding a billion people and China crossing the billion user threshold in 2012, growth in India has been slow in coming. Call rates that are among the cheapest in the world and affordable devices were late in coming and it has finally fueled growth in the past few years.
Once you reach the 1 billion mark where does the Indian telecomm industry look to for growth? Smartphones. India has only 125 million smart phone users and that puts them third in the world behind the US and China, but in relation to the number of overall subscribers that number is incredible small. Smart phone user in the US and China make up more than 70% of all mobile phone users whereas India is hovering just above 10%. The potential for growth is enormous!
There is expectation of growth expected in the Indian market, in fact by the end of 2016 it is expected to overtake the US in terms of the number of users. It will become the second largest market for smartphones will users exceeding 200 million users. They still have a long way to go to catch up to China which has more than 500 million smartphone users.
The Revolution has Just Begun
This is really just the start of the mobile revolution in India that much of the rest of the world that has already seen. With a huge untapped market mobile phone manufacturers and app creators are chomping at the bit to see smart phone saturation rate rise. Take a look at one Bangalore based start up, they launched an app and within 6 months they secured more than 1.2 million users. This is a local based app that is only in 4 Indian cities, they expect to see the app grow to more than 5 million users by the end of the year.
The ramifications of increased smartphone use won’t just affect app creators and handset manufacturers it will reach across several sectors. It opens up a whole new world of ecommerce, financial and healthcare services to name a few. There will be new opportunities for business across India and the globe to open and reach new customers. Fortunately the government in India is onboard with helping growth along. The 2 year old government has been pushing an ambitious project Digital India that is meant to help the growth of this market.