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The Current Status of the Telecommunications and Mobile Phone Industry in India

Source: Taiwantrade | Updated: 27 February 2020

        Prior to the publication of the New Telecom Policy in 1999, only two state-owned telecommunications companies, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) based in Delhi and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) based in Mumbai, were allowed to operate landline telephone services in India. However, the number of fixed-line network service users has shown a steady downward trend since the mobile communication service was launched in 1995.

        In contrast, the mobile communications industry has been thriving since its inception. As of the end of March 2019, India had 1.1831 billion mobile phone users, of whom 89 percent used services provided by private telecommunications service providers and 11 percent used services provided by state-owned telecommunications companies. Currently, the top three mobile telecommunications companies are Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel. Smartphone users accounted for 20 percent of India's population in 2017, but are estimated to reach 829 million, about 60 percent of its total population in 2022. And networking devices, including computers and smartphones, will grow from 1.6 billion units in 2017 to 2.2 billion units in 2022, with smartphones accounting for 38 percent.

        India is now the world's second largest smartphone market, behind China. With more than 450 million smartphone users in 2019, India is the fastest growing smartphone market in the world. Still, more than 60 percent of Indians don't have a smartphone, prompting top global mobile phone brands to enter India for its huge business opportunity.

        Currently, China's Xiaomi, OPPO, VIVO, Realme, OnePlus and Korea's Samsung are the major mobile phone brands in India, while Taiwanese mobile phone makers, especially ASUS and HTC, have also been actively penetrating the Indian market. Benefiting from Apple's expansion of local lines in India, Wistron Corporation, a Taiwanese TSP (Technical Service Provider) company, already completed the expansion of a new handset plant in Bangalore in October 2019. Meanwhile, Foxconn, officially known as Hon Hai, not only continues to manufacture mobile phones for Xiaomi, but has also begun to produce higher-end iPhone XRs. Such an action is sure to benefit MediaTek, which designs core processors for Xiaomi's smartphones, as well as OPPO and Realme.

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