India to witness data explosion in mobile telephony: Ericsson

With prices of 3G enabled mobile handsets falling coupled with availability of more spectrum in the segment, India is likely to witness a data explosion which hitherto contributes only 10 per cent of the revenue, a top Ericsson official has said.

"That's the big opportunity here. 10 per cent of revenue on average is from data, 90 per cent is still voice. I think there's a big opportunity there for data", Head of Region India, Ericsson, Chris Houghton said.

"I also see that the prices of 3G enabled smartphones are consistently falling which means that they are more available to people. We're going to have a data explosion in India without question," Houghton told PTI here recently.

Earlier only 5 Megahertz (MHz) was available on 3G for operators to use and now more spectrum is there, he said.

"I come from markets where it is 20 MHz. The scarcity of spectrum was the cause (for less data usage). More spectrum has been made available just recently," he added.

On asked about 4G (or Long Term Evolution/LTE) services, he said the technology will play its part but in the short term it is expected to be 3G technology only.

"In the short term it will probably be 3G for the masses as most people will be on 3G, but 4G will definitely play its part because spectrum will be available and hence technology will be available.

"We have China, US, Japan and Korea investing in 4G and when you get the highly populous countries investing then the chip prices of the LTE enabled devices fall."

Houghton said prices for using 3G services have been falling since a long time.

"For 4G it will remain higher, but will fall in the shorter time because very populous countries like China and India are going to use these technologies", he said.

Houghton said fall in handset prices is good for all.

He said India is going to be a very exciting market over the next few years as there was a successful auction of spectrum recently and that people are now ready to invest.

"Also, there is a little more clarity on the Mergers & Acquisition (M&A) policy in India," he added.

Speaking about company's expansion plans in India, Houghton said Ericsson is talking with all operators for roll-out of 3G services.

"We're talking to all operators. We are always looking for opportunities, looking for business...Hopefully we can grow our business together with their business," he said.

NASDAQ listed Swedish firm Ericsson is a provider of communications technology and services across the globe.

It offers software and infrastructure services within Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for telecom operators and other industries.

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