India has over 20 million 5G customers in four months after the official launch of 5G services in October. Telecom operators like Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel have been rolling out 5G services in over 190 cities across the country, making India third in the number of cities with 5G services after China and the US. Executives in the telco industry estimate that the number of 5G subscribers in India will increase as the roll-out gains momentum. There are over 70 million subscribers with 5G-compatible phones and most have upgraded their devices with a software patch required for 5G. Both Airtel and Jio are offering 5G services at similar tariffs to 4G, making it accessible for customers. The aggressive extension of 5G services to 190 cities has made it easier for customers to experience the new network.
India has surpassed the Philippines and South Korea in terms of the number of cities with 5G services, but it still lags behind China and the US. According to Statista, China has 356 cities with 5G services, while the US has 296. Jio and Airtel plan to expand their 5G services to every city and town in India by the end of 2023 and March 2024 respectively.
The 5G penetration in India is currently at 2% and is expected to grow to 32% by 2026 according to OMDIA. India's 5G penetration will be lower than the US and China, which are estimated to have 63% and 52% penetration respectively by 2025. Despite a lower penetration rate, India is expected to have a high number of 5G subscribers, with an estimated 369 million in 2026, ranking third globally after China and the US.