Mumbai: India’s mobile subscriber base should grow to 993 million by 2014, according to researcher Gartner, which expects the world’s fastest-growing mobile market to close 2010 with more than 660 million subscribers.
India is the second-largest wireless market in the world after China with its 618 million mobile subscribers at end-May, according to data from the country’s telecoms regulator. Mobile connections were at 525 million at end-2009.
While the regulator’s data also includes fixed wireless subscribers of operators like Reliance Communications and state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, Gartner forecasts exclude these subscribers, Neha Gupta, a senior research analyst at the research firm, told Reuters.
She estimated India had about 519 million mobile users at end-2009, excluding the fixed wireless subscribers.
More than half of the population in India now have a mobile phone, and Gartner sees the penetration reaching 82% in 2014, it said in a statement.
Sharp fall in call charges and launch of services by new mobile operators have helped the country step up mobile subscriber additions in the past one year, but increasing mobile penetration could lead to some slow down in future growth.
“We were expecting a degrowth in 2009, given the penetration rate, but because of the entry of new operators and decrease in price points, it didn’t happen,” Gupta said.
“We are not expecting that kind of triggers in 2010,” she said.
Gupta estimated Indian operators would add mobile subscribers at a monthly average of 12 million, lower than 15 million seen in 2009.
Gartner estimated mobile service revenue in India to reach $19.8 billion by the end of 2010, up about a fifth from 2009 and reach $23 billion by the end of 2014, it said.