Indian phone market to expand more than forecast

CIOL Bureau
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MUMBAI: The Indian telecom market -- already projected to be the world's

fastest growing over the next few years -- could expand even more quickly than

estimated, the top bureaucrat in the telecoms ministry said on Friday.


The number of phone lines could more than double by 2005 to nine per hundred

people, federal telecoms secretary Shyamal Ghosh said.

"We had a target of seven per cent by 2005...but...I expect it will

exceed seven per cent...maybe touch nine per cent," he said.

Ghosh was speaking to reporters at the annual seminar of the National

Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom). The nation of more than

a billion people has just four telephones per 100 people -- one of the lowest

teledensity rates in the world.


But India is now adding 10,000 telephone lines per hour and 250,000 mobile

phones per month. "Still this implies that nearly 95 per cent of the

households are yet to be covered," Ghosh said.

The low teledensity and opening of the phone industry to private investment

is expected to make India the fastest growing telecom market in the world over

coming years.

Global technology research firm Gartner last August said it expected India's

mobile phone industry to grow by a compounded 52.5 per cent through 2005 to 30.9

million subscribers, double China's 26 per cent growth. Fixed-line subscribers

were expected to jump to 83 million by 2005, it said.

(C) Reuters Limited.