NEW DELHI: Qualcomm, the world’s top supplier of mobile phone chips, said smartphone prices in India would continue to come down as handset brands drive volumes through economies of scale and expects the Indian smartphone market to grow at sub-10% levels to reach 160 million units in calendar 2020.
Rajen Vagadia, president, Qualcomm India, said smartphones powered by the company’s 600-series chips that were “priced above ?15,000 are now down to around ?10,000”, adding that “the drop in handset prices in India is the fastest” the company has seen yet.
Vagadia said that despite the stress on the Indian telecom sector, the handset market has grown last year in India and is slated to grow just below 10% in calendar 2020 too. “Economies of scale are helping brands that are driving volumes, which is helping the market,” he said.
People are also buying costlier phones in India, which offers a good opportunity for handset brands to monetise beyond the hardware. “Handset brands and carriers will look at offering services outside the phone to see how to monetise. At some stage, services will drive revenues,” he said.
The Qualcomm executive also said mass availability of 5G smartphones in India will hinge on how rapidly China scales its own 5G networks and handset ecosystem. “We are dependent on China for economies of scale…as they drive 5G, it will be the natural way for smartphones to come to India.”
Handset brands such as Vivo, Realme, Oppo, and Xiaomi may bring their 5G smartphones to India this year. Manu Jain, Xiaomi’s international VP and managing director (India), said the smartphone maker is working with vendor partners and carriers to bring 5G smartphones to India soon. He, however, declined to give a time frame.
Research firm TechArc expects 15-18 models to be introduced in India this year in premium segment.