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Indian mobile growth continues in 2008

22 января 2009

Growth in India's burgeoning mobile market is showing no sign of abating, with the country added 10.81 million new customers in December to end 2008 with a total of close to 350 million, according to new statistics.

While India's fixed-line telephony market is in decline and broadband customers are merely inching upwards, the mobile operators are seeing rapid expansion.

Total mobile subscribers reached 346.89 million at the end of the year, up from 336.08 million at 30 November and 233.63 million at the start of the year, according to figures released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Wednesday. The TRAI admitted that the new data is tentative at this stage.

Market leader Bharti Airtel consolidated its position in December by recording the most new additions. The operator signed up 2.73 million new users last month, taking its customer base to 85.65 million.

Hot on Bharti's heels is Vodafone Essar, which added 2.17 million customers to take its base to 60.93 million at year-end, leaving it in third place in the market.

Second-placed Reliance, a CDMA operator, recorded 1.77 million net adds – its total base stands at 61.35 million – while Idea added 1.40 million customers (34.21 million in total).

State-owned BSNL, the fourth largest operator in the market with 46.23 million customers, added 949,070 users, and sixth placed Tata Communications pushed its customer base up to 31.76 million thanks to 747,369 net adds.

But the picture is less rosy in the wireline space.

There were 37.90 million fixed-line subscribers in India at the end of the year, the TRAI reported, down 150,421 on the previous month and a significant fall from 39.25 million at the end of 2007.

However, most of the alternative players reported small wireline customer increases; Bharti Airtel added 30,900 new customers to takes its total base to 2.62 million and Reliance Communications increased its total by close to 18,000 to 1.07 million.

However, state-owned former monopoly Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) saw its subscriber base slide to 29.50 million, a loss of just over 200,000 customers compared to the previous month, and sister company Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) also reported a small loss.

Fixed-line broadband is growing, but taking into account the size of India's population, the market remains small.

Broadband subscribers – broadband being defined by the TRAI as having a download speed of 256 kbps or above – reached 5.45 million at the end of December, up from 5.28 million a month earlier and 3.13 million at the start of the year.

The TRAI reported that India ended 2008 with a total teledensity – including fixed-line and mobile customers – of 33.23%.

Источник: Total Telecom

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