India surpasses US as second largest wireless market

April 11th, 2008 - 10:47 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) India has added a massive 7.6 million new mobile phone users under the GSM technology in March, surpassing the US as the second largest wireless market, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said Friday. The total number of GSM users till March 31 stood at 192.35 million, an increase of four percent from February when the base stood at 185 million, COAI said. The growth in March was “the highest ever subscriber additions since the inception of GSM service in India”, it added.

“Aggressive network expansion, excellent affordability, ample choice of service and continuing customer pull for GSM” were cited as some of the reasons for the growth by COAI.

The organisation also said the country is likely to become “the second largest wireless network in the world, after China” by the end of the current month.

Bharti Airtel, India’s leading mobile phone service firm, added 2.31 million new users in March, taking its total base to 62 million and market share to 32.22 percent.

Vodafone Essar, promoted by British telecom giant Vodafone, registered 44.12 million subscribers by adding 1.56 million new users last month against the preceding month’s 1.41 million.

Aditya Birla Group’s Idea Cellular added 1.12 million new subscribers against 918,871 users in February. Its total subscriber base stood at 24 million by end of March.

State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) added 1.6 million users in March taking its total subscriber base to 36 million from 34.57 million in February, COAI said.

India is the world’s fastest growing mobile phone market with the lowest call tariffs of below a cent.

The market has emerged as the cynosure of global telecom giants. The latest to make a foray is the Richard Branson-promoted Virgin Mobile, which announced its entry into the Indian market last month in partnership with Mumbai-based Tata Teleservices.

The Indian government has set a target of 500 million users by 2010; half of this was reached last year.

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