Thursday, March 12, 2009

Total mobile phone users reach 362.3 million in January in India

Indian telecom companies added a record 15 million customers in January, indicating that the world’s fastest growing telecom market remains untouched by the economic slowdown.
This is a global record for any telecom market. The number of phone connections in the country — mobile and landline — has crossed 400 million as of January-end, telecom regulator Trai said on Friday. Mobile phone users now account for close to 91% of the country’s telephone base with 362.3 million connections, the regulator said. The robust growth has also helped push the country’s teledensity to 34.5%. This means, there are 35 phone connections for every 100 people in India.
The industry maintained the growth momentum with operators expanding networks to smaller towns and villages. Besides, cheap call rates, which are among the lowest in the world, have also helped the record growth.
January growth was led by Reliance Communications that added close to 5 million new subscribers, GSM and CDMA combined, taking its subscriber base to 66.2 million. RCom had launched GSM services in January with an aggressive pricing strategy that enabled the company to garner a third of the total customers added by the industry in the month.
The wireline segment continued its declining trend, with the subscriber base going down to 37.75 million in January, registering a drop of 0.15 million from 37.90 million subscribers in December 2008. BSNL’s wireline subscriber base dipped by 0.2 million to reach 29.29 million in January 2009 compared to 29.50 million in December 2008.
MTNL too registered a drop of over 10,000 customers in the wireline space to take its total subscriber base to 3.5 million. However, private telecom operators providing landline services like Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices recorded positive growth.
The broadband sector also recorded positive growth. The country added 0.20 million new users in January, taking the total customers using high-speed internet services to 5.65 million. However, this is well below the target of 9 million users by 2007, laid out in the broadband policy.
Source: TRAI



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