India is the world's second-largest telecommunications market. The telecom market can be split into three segments – wireless, wireline and internet services. The wireless market segment accounted for 98.25 per cent of the total subscriber base as of January 2020. Rural subscribers comprised 43.69 per cent of the total telephone subscribers as of January 2020.
India is also the second largest country in terms of internet subscribers. As of 2019, India holds the world’s highest data usage per smartphone, averaging 9.8 GB per month. It is expected to double to 18 GB by 2024. The internet user base in India is likely to reach 627 million by end 2019. App downloads in the country increased from 12.07 billion in 2017 to 19 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach 37.21 billion by 2022F. Total wireless data usage in India grew 10.58 per cent y-o-y to 19,838,886 TB (terabytes) during Q2FY20. The contribution of 3G and 4G data usage in total volume of wireless data usage was about 5.72 per cent and 93.65 per cent, respectively, during Q2FY20. Share of 2G data usage remained 0.62 per cent during this quarter. India had over 500 million active internet users (accessed Internet in the last one month) as of May 2020.
Gross revenue of the telecom sector stood at Rs 121,527 crore (US$ 17.39 billion) in FY20 (till September 2019). Strong policy support from the Government has been crucial to the sector’s development. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) cap in the telecom sector has been increased to 100 per cent from 74 per cent. FDI inflow in the telecom sector totalled US$ 37.27 billion during April 2000-March 2020.
The Government of India, through its National Digital Communications Policy, foresee investment worth US$ 100 billion in the telecommunications sector by 2022.