Internet growth declined in India in FY22: TRAI

According to the TRAI report, the internet subscriber base was 824.8 million in FY22 compared to 825.3 million on March 31, 2021

by exchange4media employees

Published – 02/24/2023 08:42 | 2 minutes read

India boasts of having the second largest mobile phone market in the world with more than a billion users. Still, internet growth in the country appears to have slowed over the past year.

According to the latest TRAI annual report, the Internet subscriber base was 824.8 million as of March 31, 2022, compared to 825.3 million as of March 31, 2021.

That means almost 0.5 million (5 lakh subscribers) fell off the internet between 2021 and 2022, a year marred by a Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, resulting in massive job losses.

Degrowth was recorded in both broadband and narrowband. The narrowband decline was gradual throughout FY22. But in the case of broadband, the March 22 quarter was particularly bad, as Internet subscribers fell to 788.2 million from 792 million.

This degrowth is remarkable as India prepares to welcome 5G.

The total telecom subscriber base recorded a decrease of 34.27 million subscribers during the period; from 1201.20 million in FY21 to 1166.93 million in FY22, the TRAI report said.

The number of wireless subscribers, i.e. people accessing the Internet via mobile phones, was 1142.09 million at the end of March 31, 2022 compared to 1180.96 million a year ago, down from 38.87 million subscribers in fiscal 2021 -22 equals.

Smartphones are the main gateway to getting online – and this is where growth is flattening out. According to International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, the Indian smartphone market fell by 10% to 144 million units in 2022. This is the lowest reading since 2019, down 10% year-on-year (yoy).

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The most recent quarter was particularly bad, when shipments fell 27% year over year to 30 million units. High inflation-related prices for mobile phones are held responsible for the dwindling demand.

“ASP (average selling price) hit a record $224, up 18% YoY in 2022. The entry-level segment (under $150) shrank to 46% of the market, down from 54% a year ago. The lack of new launches in this critical mass segment has been a barrier to new smartphone users, thus limiting overall market growth,” said Upasana Joshi, Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India, in a statement.

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