India's total subscriber base crossed the 500-million mark even as the raging tariff stocks left telecom stocks battered on the bourses. The milestone mark, targeted for December 2010 came 15 months ahead of schedule in September.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's figures released on Wednesday revealed that the total telecom subscribers the country increased to 509.03 million by end September from 494.07 million in August, registering a growth rate of 3.03 per cent.
With the development India's tele-density increased to 43.50 per cent with wireless tele-density at 40.31. India is the second largest market for wireless services lagging only China which has a subscriber base of 600 million and ranks as the fastest telecom growth market in the world.
Leading mobile operators including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone-Essar and Tata Teleservices have been trying to attract customers with innovative tariff packages in Indian market which has already seen call rates plunge to rock bottom levels. New tariff plans including per-second billing offered by most operators are likely to see huge subscriber addition over the coming months.
High growth rate of mobile services and reduced tariffs have taken teledensity in the four metros, Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai beyond 100 per cent.
While wireless subscriber base has been rising, according to Trai's figures the number of landline subscribers has been falling steadily.
Currently there are around 14 operators with new players such as Videocon's Datacom solutions to launch services soon.