Indian telecom operators are increasingly finding a prominent place in the global pecking order.
That’s true for both platforms-Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and Global Systems for Mobile Communications (GSM). While two of India’s CDMA operators are among the top five worldwide, two GSM players of the country find mention in the global top 10 list in as far as subscriber numbers are concerned.
Not only that, India is second among the countries across the world for both total mobile phone subscriber numbers as well as for CDMA base.
India is behind China and ahead of the US now for total number of wireless phone users.
In the case of CDMA, India is second after the US, and ahead of Japan, South Korea and China, in that order.
According to data provided by Wireless Intelligence, Verizon Wireless (US) is the largest CDMA operator in any country with 72.46 million, followed by Reliance Communications (India) at 50.99 million, Sprint (US) 36.36 million, Tata Teleservices (India) 31.76 million, and KDDI (Japan) 30.62 million, as of December 2008.
As for GSM, China Mobile (China) is the topmost operator in any country with 457 million, followed by China Unicom (China) at 133 million, Bharti Airtel (India) 85 million, AT&T (US) 77 million, Verizon (US) 72 million, Mobile Telesystems or MTS (Russia) 64.6 million, Telekomsel (Indonesia) 64 million, Vodafone Essar (India) 60 million, Telcel (America Mobil of the US) 56 million and NTT DoCoMo (Japan) 54 million.
This data is for the quarter ended December 2008.
Worldwide, there are a total of over 3.7 billion GSM subscribers and 464.7 million CDMA users.
India has a total of 429.72 million phone connections after adding 15.87 million subscribers in March 2009 alone. Of this, 391.76 million are wireless subscribers.
The teledensity of the country now stands at 36.98 per cent, according to data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
Monthly addition in the GSM subscriber base touched a record 10.84 million in March.
And the growth in user numbers is expected to go up even further.
According to TV Ramachandran, director general of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the monthly GSM subscriber addition could touch as much as 15 million sometime this year.
If this growth trend continues, the mobile subscriber base in India would touch the 400-million mark as early as end of this month.
The all-India GSM user base has now increased to 288.3 million, up from 277.5 million end of February.
The GSM figures do not include the growth in Reliance subscribers.