While a corruption scandal rages on spectrum sale, landmarks are being crossed in India’s telecom expansion.
The number of mobile phone subscribers crossed 700 million in October, which means — given the population of just over 1 billion — seven out of 10 Indians have a cellphone connection.
However, the connections may be a bit unevenly spread, as many people have more than one number. Also, those below the age of five are unlikely to have cellphones.
Data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India shows India added 19 million mobile subscribers in October, taking the tally from 687.7 million in September-end to 706.68 million. At this rate, by the dawn of 2011, India may be just short of 750 million cell connections.
Officially, India’s telecom subscriber base, including landlines, is 742 million, corresponding to a teledensity of 62.5%. That means 625 phone connections for every 1,000 people. Including landline connections of about 35 million, India’s total subscriber base would be close to 800 million soon.