India’s mobile subscriber base is forecast to reach 696 million connections in 2012,up nine per cent from 638 million in 2011,research firm Gartner said.
India’s mobile connections will exceed 900 million to achieve 72 per cent penetration by 2016. Also,total mobile services revenue in India is projected to reach USD 30 billion in 2016. The average revenue per user (ARPU) began to stabilise in 2011,which is a notable change from the double-digit decline of ARPU between 2008-2010,an official statement said.
“The growth of connections has been driven by expansion of mobile services in semi-urban and rural markets and the availability of cheap mobile devices. However,other performance indicators of the Indian mobile market seem modest in comparison to those of markets such as China,” Gartner’s Principal Analyst,Consumer Technology and Markets,Shalini Verma said.
At USD 40,the ARPU in India is among the lowest in the world and about one-third of that of China. India also lags behind China in mobile service penetration. Penetration in India is currently at 51 percent,and is expected to grow to 72 percent by 2016,whereas China already achieved 71 per cent mobile penetration in 2011 and is forecast to grow to 119 percent in 2016,the statement said.
While fixed broadband is becoming a norm in several countries,India is lagging behind even emerging markets.
India’s fixed broadband household penetration was merely six per cent in 2011,lower than the overall penetration in emerging markets,estimated at 16 per cent in 2011,it added.
While Indian mobile operators have demonstrated “out-of-the-box” thinking in infotech and telecom infrastructure management to check operational costs,they have their work cut out to improve margins,by converting prepaid subscribers into postpaid,the statement said.
“The industry is pegging hope on market consolidation,which appears imminent in the aftermath of 2G license cancellations. Department of Telecom and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India have a pivotal role to play in removing uncertainties in policy-making,and license and spectrum management,so that the mobile operators can focus their energies on driving growth,” the statement said.