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4G data cards capture 16 per cent of India market in Q1

June 4, 2014

NEW DELHI: The Indian telecom market is yet to see a full-fledged launch of 4G services in the country, 4G data cards possessed 16 per cent share of local data card market in January-March period of 2014, according to 6Wresearch.

4G data cards surged 313 per cent on year basis, the market research firm said in its report released Wednesday. One needs to note that the base is quite low.

Bharti Airtel, India's No. 1 carrier, is the only telecom players, which has introduced 4G services in the country in Bangalore, Kolkata, Pune and some parts of Punjab.

Reliance Jio Infocomm, the only pan-Indian BWA license holder, will launch 4G services later this year, which will further fuel the growth of 4G data cards in the country, observers say.

Major players like Huawei, ZTE and Micromax have already launched WI-FI data cards, while other major players are also expected to enter Indian WI-FI data card market over the coming quarters.

Chinese gear maker Huawei led the overall market in the January-March quarter, followed by ZTE in the CDMA segment and Micromax in the GSM segment.

During the January-March period, the CDMA segment grew 18 per cent, whereas the GSM segment saw a decline of 16 per cent. GSM-based data cards had 63 per cent share of the overall data card shipment versus 37 per cent shipment of the CDMA-based data cards.

6Wresearch said that 4G data cards would give intense competition to the 3G data card market going forward. "Growing need for high-speed internet has resulted in an increase in demand for features such as WI-FI and 4G. Increasing consumer awareness and initiatives like free WI-FI zone, availability of internet in public transport would further boost India data card market," the report.

Indian data card market shipments volume reached 1.60 million units in the first quarter of 2014, representing a marginal decline of 6 per cent over the fourth quarter of 2013, 6Wresearch said.

According to the report, data cards with speed of 7.2 MBPS captured around 43 per cent of the total market share.

In a bid to woo customers, local telecom operators, especially CDMA players, have started rolling out Wi-Fi enabled data cards with attractive pricing. Moreover, GSM-based Wi-Fi data cards are available in the market through players like Micromax.

"Currently, every household in India has around 3-4 gadgets and all of them requires internet connectivity. As a result, original equipment makers (OEMs) are concentrating on WI-FI based data cards to cater to the multiple needs of consumers through one single device," the report said.

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