India surpasses a billion active mobile subscriptions

Also has more than 100 million 2G subscribers, and a tiny PC market

One billion Indian wireless services subscribers were active in December 2021 – the first time the nation has breached the nine-figure barrier. But that colossal number betrays a market that is still far from saturated by smartphones or ready for rich digital services.

News that the nation topped the billion mark emerged in data [PDF] released last week by the nation's Telecom Regulatory Authority, which revealed that on a single day in December last year 1,000,630,000 subscribers were active. The regulator counted 1.155 billion mobile subscriptions in the same month.

By way of contrast, China's big three carriers already boast more than 750 million 5G subscriptions and over one billion 4G accounts. India still has tens of millions of people on 2G networks, and its carriers are yet to operate a 5G network.

Another data point of interest comes from analyst firm IDC, which yesterday published data showing that 14.8 million PCs shipped in India during 2021.

That figure was a 44.5 per cent year on year jump and a new record.

Remote working and learning were big drivers for the increase, and helped propel laptops to 11.6 million sales – over 78 per cent of the total.

While India's PC market achieved record shipments, the nation is not a big PC buyer overall. Its population of 1.4 billion means just one in one hundred residents acquired a new PC in 2021. Contrast that with the USA, where a population of 330 million bought almost 90 million PCs in 2021.

Established PC players fared best in India. HP shipped 4.7 million machines, owning 32.2 per cent market share, and growing shipments by almost 60 per cent year on year. Dell has 24 per cent market share, ahead of Lenovo's 18 points. Acer's eight per cent share and ASUS's six per cent round out the top five vendors.

"Other" vendors accounted for 12 per cent of the India market, but IDC's global PC data suggests they have 23.4 per cent of the global market. The firm attributed other players' poor performance in India to their inability to get products built and/or allocated to Indian operations. Maybe they were trying to run their businesses on 3G. ®

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