India adds 6-8 mn mobiles per month
But more than a decade after launch, wireless networks cover only about one-third of the country.india Updated: Feb 16, 2006 13:04 IST
India, the world's fastest growing mobile market, could add between 6-8 million new mobile users each month once networks reach all rural customers, Telecommunications Minister Dayanidhi Maran said on Tuesday.
Asia's third-largest economy added a record 4.7 million new GSM and CDMA mobile users in January, taking its wireless user base close to 83 million customers.
But more than a decade after launch, wireless networks cover only about one-third of the country and vast swathes of rural areas -- where two-thirds of the billion-plus population live -- remain unconnected.
"I believe that if we are able to reach mobile services to rural consumers, we have the potential to grow at 6, 7 or even 8 million subscribers a month," Maran told the 3GSM wireless trade show in Barcelona, Spain.
India has the cheapest tariffs in the world -- less than 2 US cents a minute for a local call -- which are luring new users. But demand is rocketing as only 8 out of every 100 Indians use mobile phones.