BENGALURU, India Adding subscribers at a rate of more than 8 million monthly, India's wireless subscriber base is set to become the second largest in the world, after China's, by mid-April.
According to a statement issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in New Delhi, the total number of subscribers to wireless servicesincluding GSM, CDMA and wireless in the local loophit 250.93 million in India at the end of February. When subscribers to wireline phone services are included, India's telecom network hit 290.11 million subscribers at February's end.
"India is likely to become the second largest wireless network in the world, after China, in the first half of April. The wireless subscriber base in the U.S. was 256 million at the end of December, and 2 million to 3 million subscribers are added each month there, while the subscriber [base] in China touched 528 million, with 6 million to 7 million more being added each month. India's subscriber base is increasing at 8 million to 9 million each month; thus India's wireless subscriber base will surpass that of the U.S. in the first half of April 2008," TRAI stated.
The regulatory group added that the total number of telecom subscribers in India, including both wireless and wireline, will hit the 300 million mark next month.
In an unrelated move that could have ramifications for the growth of GSM services in the country, a host of new entrants to India's wireless services business, along with some that providers that have been given dual technology licenses to operate GSM and CDMA services, have decided to form their own lobby. The new players will not join the existing GSM lobby, the Cellular Operators Association of India, because some believe existing GSM players have organized themselves in a cartel, hoarding spectra and delaying the launch of services by new entrants.