We estimate India will reach 0.4 million TD-LTE subscribers by the end of 2012. Our estimates are conservative, but take into account the fact that as of the end of May 2012, Bharti Airtel is the only operator to have commercially launched TD-LTE (and only in two circles).
Other BWA players like RIL, Tikona and Aircel are expected to launch in the second half of 2012. Maravedis-Rethink expects to see some traction on the TD-LTE front in India in the second half of 2013. We forecast that the TD-LTE subscriber base in India will reach 67 million by the end of 2017.
The absence of a TD-LTE device ecosystem remains the prime barrier to rapid growth. Operators face the challenge of bringing an inexpensive multimode (2G/3G/TD-LTE) device to the consumer. The current prices of TD-LTE devices (US$152 for a multimode dongle) are far too high for the average Indian consumer. The fall of device prices to the US$50 price which an Indian consumer can afford may take more than two years. If prices fall more slowly, TD-LTE adoption in India may evolve even more slowly than expected.
Select Key Findings:
The TD-LTE subscriber base in India will reach 67 million by the end of 2017.
3G smartphones will dominate the device category with 55% market share by the end of 2017.