(Photo by Punit PARANJPE / AFP)

5G smartphone shipments in India surge 600%

While India has yet to have 5G network deployment, consumers are already getting their hands on 5G smartphones. The 5G rollout is only expected to take place towards the end of 2022 and Indian consumers are getting prepared for it.

In fact, Cybermedia Research (CMR) India Mobile Handset Market Review Report for Q4 2021 showed shipments of 5G smartphones grew by 600% last year.  According to the report, smartphone shipments also reached an all-time high of 166 million units by the end of 2021, with revenue touching US$ 37 billion.

“Smartphones continue to be an essential life driver. This is clearly reflected in the robust growth in the Indian smartphone market amidst the second pandemic wave and despite component shortages. 5G played a key role in this overall growth with its contribution increasing to 17% in CY2021. 5G shipments increased significantly (43%) in the value for money smartphone segment,” said Shipra Sinha, Analyst-Industry Intelligence Group, CMR.

The Indian smartphone market is considered one of the biggest mobile markets in the world. With a population of 1.4 billion, the smartphone models in India range from affordable units to premium models.

The top three best-selling smartphones in India were captured by Xiaomi (21%) Realme (17%) and Samsung (16%). This was followed by Vivo and Oppo. Meanwhile, for the 5G smartphone segment, Samsung had a 23% market share followed by Apple at 14%.

5G smartphone

Shipra also pointed out that one in every eight smartphones shipped in 2021 was a premium smartphone. During the year, the premium smartphone segment grew 79%. He added that this is where more smartphone brands, including the likes of Xiaomi, Realme, OPPO, iQOO, and Vivo are seeking to challenge the current market incumbents, such as OnePlus, Apple, and Samsung in the affordable premium tier segment.

The Indian government recently announced that the 5G network rollout in the subcontinent is on track and is now in the final stages of development. The spectrum auction process for the 5G network is expected to take place by August 2022, with services being rolled out subsequently.

According to news reports, the Department of Telecommunications has confirmed that 13 cities in India would get 5G services this year. These include Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Gurugram, Chandigarh, Bangalore, Ahmadabad, Jamnagar, Hyderabad, Pune, Lucknow, and Gandhinagar. The 5G trials were initially conducted at these cities, which is why people who are based in these places will first get 5G.

“With 5G auction in late 2022 and roll-out thereafter, we foresee greater momentum for 5G smartphone shipments. Smartphone OEMs will prioritize 5G, by leveraging favorable supply-side dynamics, and will continue to drive 5G, especially at lower price tiers. After two years of the pandemic, smartphone market players will be better prepared to navigate supply constraints in the new never normal,” commented Anand Priya Singh, Analyst- Industry Intelligence Group, CMR.