India's growth story in the telecom space shows no signs of slowdown. The country added 113.26 million new customers in 2008, the largest globally. To put this growth into perspective, the country’s cellular base witnessed close to 50% growth in 2008, with an average 9.5 million customers added every month. The country had 346.89 mobile phone users as of December 2008-end compared to 233 million in the corresponding period a year ago. As per sector regulator Trai, the total number of telephone connections (mobile and fixed) has touched 385 million as of December-end, taking the telecom penetration to over 33%. This implies, one out of every three Indian has a telephone connection. On the other hand, fixed-line numbers continued to tumble. The landline customer base was down by 3% in 2008 to 37.90 million. Mobile customers now out-number landline users by around 9 times. Despite registering close to 75% growth in its broadband subscriber base, the penetration of highspeed internet connections remains dismally low. A mere 5.5 million users have a broadband internet connection. The growth in 2008 was led by Bharti Airtel, the country’s largest communications provider. Bharti had 85.6 million customers as of December-end, when compared to 61.3 million of Reliance Communications and about 61 million of Vodafone Essar. In fact, Bharti has more customers than the stateowned BSNL’s mobile and landline users combined. The PSU finished 2008 with 46.2-million mobile subscribers and 29.5-million landline customers. Telecom companies estimate growth in 2009 to be higher.
Labels: Telecom India 2008