India Adds 9.22 Million Mobile Phone Connections in July

India added 9.22 million mobile phone connections in July, but some of the gains may have come from the replacement of existing fixed line connections.

The July figure was the highest monthly total since India's telecom regulators reported 10.16 million new mobile subscribers in March. The July total also brings the number of mobile phone subscribers in India up to a total of 296.08 million.

The figures make India one of the fastest growing mobile phone markets in the world, and the nation is in a tight race with China. The number of mobile phone subscribers in China reached 601 million at the end of June, up 8.63 million from the previous month, according to government figures.

The number of fixed line subscribers in India fell to 38.76 million in the month of July from 38.92 million subscribers in June, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said on Monday.

The total number of phone connections in India, both fixed line and mobile, was 334.84 million [m] as of the end of July, as compared to 325.78 million at the end of June.

The continuing boom in demand for mobile phone connections helped push up India's tele-density, measured as number of connections per 100 persons, to 29.08 percent at the end of July 2008 from 28.33 percent a month earlier.

The main beneficiaries of the boom have been the mobile services companies.

Bharti Airtel, the largest mobile phone service provider in India, increased its mobile subscribers to 72 million in July from 69 million in June.

The number of mobile subscribers at Reliance Communications rose to 52.5 million in July from 50.8 million in June, while those of Vodafone Essar increased to about 51 million from 49 million.

The number of subscribers at state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) increased to 42.5 million from 42 million.

BSNL, the earliest entrant in the fixed line business, is still the largest fixed line services provider in India, but saw its number of subscribers drop to 30.6 million in July from 30.87 million in June. Bharti Airtel's fixed line business remained stagnant at about 2.4 million.

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