India Adds 9 Million New Mobile Connections

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India added close to 9 million new mobile connections in June, taking the total number of mobile subscribers in the country to 286.86 million, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said on Friday.

The country added 8.62 million new subscribers in May.

The country's mobile market is expected to grow faster as mobile handset vendors and service providers target relatively untapped rural markets with low-cost handsets backed by micro-financing and low tariff plans.

Cellular services revenue in India is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18 percent between this year and 2012 to cross US$37 billion, Gartner said this month. The growth will come from a rapidly proliferating rural market, low handset costs, and lower tariffs, according to Gartner.

Growth in wireless subscribers may be coming at the expense of fixed lines. In the wire-line segment, the subscriber base has decreased to 38.92 million in June, as against 39.05 million subscribers in the previous month, according to TRAI.

The Indian government is expected to announce a 3G policy soon, though it has not indicated a specific date. The 3G policy has been delayed for a number of reasons, including a disagreement between the government and TRAI on whether the auction of 3G spectrum should be open to multinational companies.

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