India added 19 million mobile subscribers in December, the largest addition in over two years, according to data released Wednesday by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
The surge in new subscribers is the result of deep tariff cuts by operators, and nationwide service rollouts by new operators, like the Indian joint venture of Telenor, which added 1.2 million subscribers since launch of service in December, analysts said.
Some operators using CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) also added GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) services last year.
The Indian market already has too many operators, and a consolidation can be expected soon, said Kamlesh Bhatia, a principal research analyst at Gartner.
The total number of mobile subscribers in the country was 525 million at the end of December. India added 17.7 million mobile subscribers in November.
As result of the additions in December, about 45 in every 100 people in India use mobile phones. The number of fixed telephone subscribers continued to decline to 37.06 million at the end of December from 37.16 million a month earlier.
India's largest mobile operator, Bharti Airtel, added 2.85 million mobile subscribers in December, to take the total subscribers to about 119 million. The second largest operator, Reliance Communications, added another 2.8 million subscribers, according to TRAI.
Tata Teleservices, which has NTT DoCoMo as a key investor, added 3.3 million new subscribers in the month.