Indian mobile subscriptions will exceed 800m by the end of the year, according to a Gartner report.
Sales of handsets, meanwhile, will hit 221m, and are forecast to grow 13.5 per cent to a total 251m units in 2013. The market is then expected to continue steady growth through till 2016, when sales will surpass 326m.
Feature phones still rule the day in the country, making up 91 per cent of overall handset sales, and data connectivity is sparse. 80 per cent of the Indian market made up of pre-paid subscriptions, with no access to data services.
Samsung is the top manufacturer in the country – thanks, Gartner says, to its brand strength and wide device portfolio. Samsung’s growth, from a 15 per cent market share in Q1, 2011, up to 49.8 per cent in Q2, 2012, has pushed Nokia off the top spot, and into second place. According to Gartner, this growth could give it a market share of over 60 per cent by the end of the year — which is where Nokia was at the start of 2011.
“The Indian mobile phone market is very competitive, with more than 150 device manufacturers selling devices to consumers. Most of these manufacturers remain focused on the low-cost feature phone market,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. “But the increase in share of smartphone device sales, declining sales to first-time buyers and the continuous focus of global manufacturers on the low cost feature phone market, has put many of the 150-plus local and Chinese device manufacturers under survival mode. Many of them are already struggling to maintain share in the growing market.”