India Shatters Monthly Mobile Subscriber Record

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India added new mobile phone subscribers at a furious pace in January after telecom service provider Reliance Communications launched a new network.

The nation increased its mobile subscriber tab by a monthly record high 15.4 million people in January, up from the previous record, 10.8 million, in December, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

A large portion of the new additions came from the entry into GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) services by Reliance, a large Indian mobile services provider, a source at TRAI said on Monday.

Reliance added 5 million new subscribers in January to reach a total of 66.3 million subscribers. Reliance rolled out its GSM services nationwide to 11,000 towns and 300,000 villages at special rates aimed at luring new subscribers.

Previously, the company only offered mobile services based on CDMA (code division multiple access).

India's largest mobile services company, Bharti Airtel added 2.7 million new subscribers in January, taking its total to 88.3 million.

The country's mobile market has not been affected by an economic slow down, posting monthly increases in subscribers of about 10 million in recent months.

Consumers in India regard spending on communications as a necessity, according to research firm IDC. Growth in unit sales of PCs has been flat, in contrast, with businesses buying less, IDC said.

IT spending in India is forecast to increase by 5.52 percent this year, down from 13 percent last year, research firm Gartner said last week.

The total number of wireless subscribers in India was 362 million at the end of January, while the total number of telephone connections - fixed and mobile - crossed 400 million, TRAI said on Friday.

In the fixed telephony segment, the number of subscribers continued to decline. The subscriber base decreased to 37.75 million in January from 37.9 million subscribers in December.

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