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20 Aug 2022

History of Smartphone Technology in India

Mobile phones have transformed the lifestyles of Indians as every person holds a branded smartphone. The first cellular call was made between Kolkata and New Delhi in 1995, but now India is the second largest market for the mobile phone industry. Although India has no worth-mentioning leading mobile manufacturing company, Indian mobile users are increasing rapidly. Today, 35.4% of the Indian population have mobile phones and there are 492.78 million active smartphone users. Moreover, there are 467 million social media users, 692 million internet users, and 1.01 billion active cellular subscribers. Deloitte report claimed that India will have 1 billion mobile phone users in 2026. This article will explain the rise of mobile phones in India.

On August 1, 1995, the first cellular phone call was held between West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu (Kolkata) and Union Telecom Minister Sukh Ram (New Delhi). This call was made on a GSM network using Nokia mobile phones over Modi Telstra’s MobileNet services. It started a new era called digital era or technological era of India that has never faced downs since birth. Many telecom companies like Jio, Airtel, Vodafone Idea, and BSNL today entered the market. In 202, 80 percent of the market was operating on GSM while 20 percent market was taken by an advanced standard called CDMA. Surprisingly, the number of cellular connections exceeded wired landline connections in 2004. However, internet rates, cellular connections, and mobile prices were extremely higher and not affordable for most Indian people.

Indian digital sector was still barriers for its growth until 2014 when internet services became cheaper and Chinese mobile brands entered Indian markets. Jio network services started 4G services in September 2016 and became India’s leading network operator with 100 million subscribers. Also, Jio launched 4G mobile handsets that provided a boost to the Indian local mobile industry. Within a few years, data rate prices and mobile prices had reduced significantly so that every Indian can access it. In 2014, there were only two mobile manufacturing units in India which increased to 60 units in 2019.

In 2000, there were only 20 million mobile users which increased to 100 million in 2010. The mobile users increased to 317 million in 2015 which rose to 462 million in 2017. Today, (in 2022) India has 492.7 million mobile users, and this number is expected to reach 1 billion in 2026. Currently, India is the second largest mobile market in the world and Chinese mobile brands are leading the Indian mobile phone sector. Motorola started its first mobile phone production unit in India, but Nokia ruled the Indian mobile market until Samsung touch screen smartphones were introduced. However, mobile prices were too high for Indian society. Now, Chinese brands (Xiaomi, Vivo, Realme, Oppo) and Samsung are leading Indian mobile market shares. However, Indian mobile manufacturers like Lava, Karbonn, and Micromax also entered the market. Due to increased competition and lower prices for components, mobile prices decreased significantly. Moreover, the Indian government has started a series of Initiatives for promoting the local manufacturing of mobile phones, electronic components, and semiconductors.

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