October rings in highest cellular subscriptions

CIOL Bureau
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NEW DELHI: More than 10 lakhs new customers signed up for cellular phones in India in October, taking the total number of users in the country to 1,93 crore, a 127 per cent jump over the same month last year.

Data released by the New Delhi-based Cellular Operators Association on Wednesday showed the October numbers were 19 percent higher than the 906,176 customers who entered the booming industry in September.

Bharti Tele-Ventures Ltd had 48.6 lakhs users, followed by state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd with 43.8 lakhs customers.

Other players in the sector include the Indian mobile unit of the Hutchison Whampoa conglomerate, Idea Cellular Ltd and state-run Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd.

Analysts expect India's nine-year-old mobile sector to have at least 10 crore customers by 2008 as some of the world's lowest call rates and rising disposable incomes lure users.

The cellular sector also competes with cheaper limited mobility services that work on the CDMA platform and are offered by fixed-line phone firms including the powerful Reliance and Tata business groups.

These companies are also adding about a million users each month, making the Indian mobile sector one of the fastest growing markets globally.

© Reuters