A decline in the price of 5G-ready smartphones will take the shipments of 5G handsets in India to 38 million units in 20201 — a nine-times annual growth and making up 21 per cent of the overall market, a new report said on Thursday.
At the end of Q3 2020, India’s 5G shipments stood at 1.7 million, a number which is projected to cross 4 million by the end of 2020.
According to Counterpoint Research, the 5G shipments were driven by two brands – OnePlus, the only brand with a 100 per cent 5G portfolio, and Apple, which launched the iPhone 12 series with 5G connectivity.
“Going forward, 5G smartphone shipments are expected to increase by more than nine times to reach 38 million units in 2021,” according to Counterpoint’s ‘India Market Outlook’.
“The growth will be driven by intense competition among original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and the decline in the price of 5G smartphones,” said analyst Ankit Malhotra.
The first quarter of 2020 witnessed the first 5G smartphone launch in India.
Things started changing after the launch of the mid-priced OnePlus Nord in August 2020.
“Nord’s shipments in the first two months after its launch were more than the total 5G shipments of other brands till June,” added Tarun Pathak, associate director at Counterpoint Research.
The key to higher adoption of 5G smartphones is bringing their prices below the Rs 20,000 (around $275) mark.
“Nearly 89 per cent of all the smartphones shipped in India in January-November 2020 had a price lower than Rs 20,000. The lowest-priced 5G device at the moment costs INR 20,999 (around $285),” Pathak added.
The availability of cheaper 5G chipsets will make it feasible for OEMs to further bring down the price.
Qualcomm and MediaTek, the biggest chipset vendors, have unveiled affordable 5G chipsets. Qualcomm has announced the 4-series 5G chipsets while MediaTek has launched affordable Dimensity chipsets.
“However, one point that might dampen the spirits of OEMs is the supply issues faced by both Qualcomm and MediaTek. It is possible that in case of a shortage, OEMs may try to divert 5G chipsets to the regions where 5G adoption is higher,” Malhotra noted.
“It is a matter of time before this intense competition pushes the cost of entry-level 5G phone below the Rs 20,000 mark. We estimate these devices to hit the Rs 15,000 mark by the third quarter of 2021”.
The report expects online-first brands like Xiaomi and realme to drive 5G smartphone shipments by bringing them to lower price bands.