In the latest telecom spectrum auction, government has raised a record Rs 1.10 lakh crore ($17.6 billion) from the sale of mobile phone airwaves, said Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday.
Government has received bids worth almost Rs 1.10 lakh crore ($17.6 billion), topping the Rs 1.06 lakh crore it raised in 2010 said Prasad.
Spectrum revenue is the key for government to plug its fiscal deficit. A quarter to a third of winning price needs to be paid initially by victorious bidders and rest by 2027.
Major chunks of the 20 years licenses on offer are expected to be bought by top operators of the country – Bharti Airtel Ltd, Vodafone Group Plc’s India unit and Idea Cellular Ltd, though government hasn’t disclosed winning bidder and region in which they had won spectrum.
In India’s mobile phone market bidding underscores the fierce competition and the operators’ big bet on the potential for mobile data in the world’s fastest growing smartphone market.
Reliance Industries is expected to spend big on airwaves as it looks to roll out pan-India 4G services, five years after buying its licensee .
"The global smart feature phone demand grew 252 per cent year-on-year in 2018 - albeit from a low base, contributing roughly 16 per cent of the total feature phone volumes," said Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research.
The revenue opportunity from increased sales of smart feature phones is expected to be about $28 billion over the next three years, according to a new report from Counterpoint Research.
“This will be enabled by a potential of more than 300 million smart feature phone users globally by the end of 2021. Software and services alone will contribute to 71 per cent of this near- to mid-term revenue opportunity, or around $20 billion,” Neil Shah, Research Director at Counterpoint Research, said in a statement on Monday.
India made the biggest contribution to the demand for smart feature phones in 2018.
A smart feature phone is a device with a traditional feature phone form-factor and design but with a chipset and an operating system which can support sophisticated smartphone-like features such as high-speed Internet access along with an application and services ecosystem.
“The global smart feature phone demand grew 252 per cent year-on-year in 2018 – albeit from a low base, contributing roughly 16 per cent of the total feature phone volumes,” said Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research.
“While India is the biggest contributor to this demand, major markets that have driven smart feature phone sales include the US, UK, South East Asia and Africa. We estimate that smart feature phones will cross more than half of global feature phone volumes by 2021,” Pathak added.
One of the key companies that has been driving this growth of smart feature phones is KaiOS. KaiOS is a software platform powering this new segment of phones and helping the digital inclusion of feature phone users with native support for 3G/4G networks as well as a curated app and services ecosystem.