New Delhi: India added 8.1 million wireless users in October, taking the subscriber base to over 217 million, while total telephone numbers crossed the 250 million mark two months ahead of target, the regulator said.
Growth was stronger than in September, when additions contracted to 7.8 million after two months which saw more than 8 million subscribers added monthly.
Fixed-line telephone numbers continued to fall, as users shift to mobile phones. In October, they stood at 39.4 million, 170,000 less than in September.
Including fixed-line users, total telephone subscribers grew to 256.6 million in October, 7.9 million more than the previous month, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said in a statement late on Thursday.
India had set end-December as the target date for signing on 250 million telephone subscribers, and expects to cross 500 million by 2010.
India, which has added over 52 million wireless users between April and October, is the world’s fastest growing telecoms market.
Bharti Airtel Ltd, which crossed the 50 million subscriber mark in October, is the top mobile firm in India, followed by Reliance Communications Ltd, which had 37.8 million customers at the end of the month.
Other leading players include Vodafone Plc controlled Vodafone Essar Ltd, state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, Tata Teleservices Ltd and Idea Cellular Ltd.