706 Million Subscribers, 155 Million Handsets, 6 Million Smartphones; 2010 – A Mobile Year for India


The year 2010 was full of excitement and eventful especially when it comes to Telecom. One side where India has witnessed one of the biggest Telecom scans (2G Scam), worth Rs. 2,00,000 Cr ($44.44 Billion), another side Indian mobile market, a third biggest mobile market in world, got back its lost charm with 706 million mobile subscribers in 2010.

According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the wireless phone user base grew 2.76 percent to 706.69 million in October from 687.71 million in the previous month. With this, the total telephone subscriber base in the country, both wireless and wireline connections combined, touched 742.12 million. The overall tele-density reached 62.51 percent.

Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Uninor were the biggest gainers from the market. Bharti Airtel managed to add 3 million users to settle down with total user base of 146 million. Vodafone and Uninor both raised total number of users to 118 million and 13.74 million respectively.

Indian Telecom Industry has recorded marginal addition in broadband subscribers which grew to 10.52 million than 10.29 million subscribers before. Unfortunately the fate of wireline segment has remained same which declined further.

According to another report by IDC, an industry research firm, mobile handsets market in India continued to grow in 3Q 2010 as well to record a quarter-on-quarter (3Q 2010 over 2Q 2010) growth of 3.6%* to touch 40.08 million units in the quarter. The year is expected to end with total mobile handset sales of 155.9 million units.

“The India mobile handsets market got even more crowded and fragmented in the lower- and mid-market segments with the further entry of new players offering innovative models at attractive price points to lure buyers”, stated Anirban Banerjee, Associate Vice President, Research, IDC India.

Due to launch of multiple variant of Android and other smartphones, smartphone market is expected to touch 6 million units by this year end. Many local mobile handset manufacturers have played a key role in establishing smartphone market in India. Last year when smartphones were available from Rs 16,000 onwards, year 2010 was flooded with dirt-cheap price of Rs 6,000/-.

Extensive marketing efforts and steep competition among global mobile manufacturers like Nokia, Google, Samsung & LG made the mobile much more affordable than ever before. When rest of the world was experiencing the recession, Indian business market was going with great guns and mobile phones became necessity than a luxury.

But the best is yet to come. Analysts are expecting further improvement in the mobile market figures and there are many things lined up with companies which shall further blow up the competition. Whatever may be the situation, it will be only end users who are going to enjoy the benefits ultimately. Shining mobile future for Indians.

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