Indians Are Going Mobile

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by Shreya Mangal
| 27/05/2021
Indians Are Going Mobile

India has come a long very long way since the first call between two Nokia mobile phones using the Modi Telestra MobileNet service was completed in 1995. This pioneer call between two Indian ministers also marked the first time when a GSM network was officially introduced to the people of the country. However, the cost of the phone call was ridiculously high, close to Rs 5,000, and the prepaid SIM card that was used had an equally expensive call rate no less than Rs. 17 for every minute the two officials spent talking.

While the numbers might be head-spinning for most of you reading this right now, it was actually a critical milestone for the telecommunication industry revolution. Almost three decades later, India proudly flaunts some of the smallest call rates on the planet, and online gaming or sports betting are on smartphones and tablets have become the norm.

Let us have a closer look at the way India came to adopt smartphones, tablets, and other handheld devices that are now irreplaceable for most Indians and what the future holds for these devices.

Trends In Smartphones and Tablets In India 2021

4G-ready phones, selfies smartphones, phones with great battery life or high speed are just a few of the most popular smart, small screen devices that Indians are currently on the look for in 2021. People are interested in quickly accessing information online while on the go while updating their social networks with the coolest photos and selfies, making TikToks and Reels on Instagram, playing PUBG and hot games at Indian real money mobile casinos, or enjoying free play casinos in India. If you like to bet on sports on your smartphone, you would not be the only one. In fact, there are lots of casinos and sports betting websites that feature apps and mobile platforms that are extremely easy to access on smartphones and tablets, which is another powerful argument making their number rise constantly.

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The Grey Market for Mobile Phones and Their Rise

Just a few years later after the introduction of the GSM network, in 2002, CDMA made its way to India. It relied on the American chipmaker Qualcomm and its main purpose was to compete against the already established 2G communications standard which had taken over 80% of the Indian telecommunication market. While many telecom companies were using GSM networks, others, like Tata Tele and Hutch started to embrace CDMA networks.

Mobile Phones Were Expensive

However, mobile phones from Nokia, Philips, Siemens, or Sony continued to be sold at exorbitant price tags. The devices came with zero tracking measures, which meant they were vulnerable to pickpocketing attempts in the street. This forced the grey market to rise and grow, which meant that Indians started to smuggle mobile phones at half the price.

The Interest For Mobile Connections Grew Quickly

While some Indians did own a mobile phone, they were not actually using a mobile phone connection for it, as landlines continued to be in the lead due to the lower costs. However, people's thirst and interest in using their light-weighted, cool hand-held mobile devices triggered some important changes. Towards the end of 2004, there were more mobile connections in India than landline connections.

Smartphone Generation In IndiaThe Introduction of 4G and Free Data

The country was still way behind the true manufacturing needs of its people in terms of mobile phones. However, in 2014, while the country was only using a couple of units to make mobile phones, some things changed. The fact that e-commerce was starting to make its way into the country, and the Internet becoming cheaper, and the import of affordable mobile brands from China made people's need to buy smartphones that could be connected to the Internet skyrocketed.

Reliance Jio launched 4G with Free Data in 2017

At the end of 2015, Reliance Jio launched its beta version for its employees and, at the end of 2016, it became available all across the country, for anyone interested, as 4G services featuring free of charge voice and data were launched. By the end of February 2017, the company had already managed to gather in more than 100 million subscribers, triggering a huge drop in the price of network data. This made smartphones even more popular and fast-growing in the country. At the moment, Jio keeps on being the be the largest operator of mobile networks in the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to throw the focus on the massive manufacturing of smartphones in India. In the summer of 2017, the JioPhone was launched. This was a 4G handset that considerably changed the way Indians use mobile devices.

Huge Leap In Smartphones In 2019

If India only had two smartphone manufacturers since the beginning of the telecom revolution, by the year 2019, this number grew to a whopping 60+. Plus during the same year, the smartphone market in the country surpassed the American market for the very first time in history, with close to 160 million shipments. The huge numbers turned it into the second-largest market for smartphones on the planet, surpassed by China.

At the moment, the majority of leading smartphone brands in the country are Chinese, except for the Samsung brand in South Korea. The market's leader is Xiaomi with a huge 30% share, led followed by Vivo, Samsung, Realme, and Oppo.

What The Future Holds For the Indian Smart Device Market

The Indian government has adopted a series of measures for boosting the domestic manufacturing efforts with the help of the Production Linked Incentive meant to stimulate the manufacturing of electronics at a large scale, as well as other similar schemes and initiatives. All of these are prone to attract even more investments in the upcoming years while beefing up local production of components and smart devices. Future projections speak about a rise to Rs 10 lakh crore by the year 2025, this welcoming a brand new smartphone manufacturing era in the country.

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