Reliance Jio is trying to dominate the 4G segment in every means possible. It already claims to have over 120 million 4G users as of June 2017, which is the largest 4G-only base in India. Its competitor Airtel, reported 48.9 million broadband (3G+4G) connections in the same quarter. The Mukesh Ambani-led telco is now shifting focus on the hardware segment with its JioFi hotspot device and JioPhone.
According to research firm Cyber Media Research(CMR), JioFi accounted for 91% of the data card market in Q2 2017 in terms of shipments, while its nearest competitor Huawei had a mere 3% share. Among this, LTE/4G supported data cards accounted for 97% of the market, wiping out all 3G standard data cards. LTE/4G data cards posted a 17% QoQ growth in terms of shipments, while 3G data card shipments dipped by 61% QoQ.
In total, the Indian data card market shipped 4 million units in Q2 2017, up 16% from 3.4 million unit shipments in the previous quarter. When compared to the same period last year, the overall data card market posted a staggering 614%, CMR added in its report. Jio was able to secure the top due to an unprecedented amount of free data being handed out. The telco was giving out 5GB of free data to both existing, and new users who purchase a new JioFi device since June.
Some highlights from the report:
- Other vendors: Collectively, other vendors’ market shares remained stagnant at just around 3% during the last two quarters. Alcatel brand shipments witnessed the fastest growth with a market share of just 2% in Q2 2017. While ZTE and Huawei brands held a 3% market share each. D-Link shipments declined by a large scale with brand failing to hold any market share during the same quarter.
- Geographical concentration: MiFi devices are gaining popularity in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities led by JioFi shipments, CMR pointed out. This “could result in erosion of potential broadband base for operators like BSNL,” the research firm added. In tier-1 and 2 areas, users used to benchmark BSNL as the highest broadband speed provider with speeds starting from 2Mbps. But with the advent of MiFi devices, which used cellular connectivity, speeds offered are higher.
- Impact on home router market: JioFi has also had some impact on the home router segment. “Our initial statistics from the channels suggest a decline of 60%-70% sales in major cities,” CMR said. The impact is also being felt on enterprise sector as well. Competitors in the wired broadband segment are responding with increased speeds and data usage. But CMR expects the MiFi segment to cannibalize the entry level router market for few more quarters.
- Data card share by speeds: Data cards with a capacity of 150 Mbps accounted for 97% of total market in terms of shipments during Q2 2017, CMR added. Around 92% of these150 Mbps data cards were produced with Qualcomm chipsets during the same quarter.