Indian Telecom Story: A billion Mobile users
DoT, in a first ever forecast of mobile penetration across India for the next 6 years, has projected a billion mobile phones for the Indian markets. It is well established that India has one of the most remarkable growths in mobile phones since the sector was first opened to private investment in 1994. From two operators in 1995, the country now has 12 to 13 operators of which 6 to 7 are fully functional, offering the Indian consumer unprecedented choice and low tariffs.
India edged USA as the second largest Telecom market in Q1, 2008 and even in the recessionary times, has been building up subscriber base by 8 – 10 million phones a month. The latest DoT report shows that India will reach the half a billion landmark by 2010 and will add the next half a billion in 5 years after that. This reflects the greatest growth opportunity in the next 5 years surpassing China. 600 million subscriber adds would feature as the biggest subscriber adds for any country in the world.
While there is a buzz in the industry and the segments, with 600 million sub adds in waiting, the party is still young. The challenge however is not the subscriber growth but educating the consumer to use the medium for more than just voice and SMS related communications. The advent of 3G would probably fast track the industry on those points. This is also essential in terms of building long term profitability of the Telecom operators.