India crosses 500m subs mark

Dylan Bushell-Embling
05 Nov 2009

Recession or not, Asia-Pacific continues to rack up impressive subscribers numbers.

Indian telecom regulator Trai revealed that the number of fixed and mobile subscribers had crossed the 500 million mark in September, a year ahead of schedule.

Total phone subscribers reached 509 million, with wireless subscribers growing 3.28% to 471.7 million, Trai said.

With 15 million new mobile subs in September, Indian cellcos are on track to hit 500 million wireless subs around the end of November.

Tata Indicom maintained its market lead, with a 26.7% share. Three operators battled closely for second place – Bharti, with 16.7% market share, Reliance with 13.4% and Vodafone with 13.1%.

By contrast, the wireline customer base fell to 37.31 million from 33.33 million, with state-owned operators BSNL and MTNL feeling the brunt of the subscriber exodus.

Overall teledensity reached 43.5%. Broadband subscribers increased 3.3% to 7.2 million.

Meanwhile, the Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) said APAC was now home to more pay TV subscribers than the rest of the world combined.

The region has around 326 million subs, with 26 million homes having signed up so far this year. More than 115 million connections are digital.

China and India together account for 90% of all Asian pay TV subscribers, with China having 69 million digital pay-TV connections, and India being home to 19 million.

CASBAA said 18 new pay-TV operators had set up shop across the region in the last 18 months.

“These are very encouraging figures,” CASBAA CEO Simon Twiston Davies said. “Much of the digital promise of the last five years is now being delivered.”

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