'India is second fastest growing telecom market'

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New Delhi, Jul 1: A booming economy, easing of entry barriers to mobile access and lowering of tariffs fuelled growth in 2007-08 when the country added over 104 million new subscribers, making India the second fastest growing telecom market in the world, a survey said.

The Indian telecom services industry revenues grew by 21.3 percent to touch Rs 130,561 crore in the last financial year as its subscriber base grew by 66 percent to add over 100 million new subscribers, according to CyberMedia's Voice &Data annual survey of the telecom industry. Recent government policies aimed at creating affordable connectivity for common man across the country has also served as a catalyst, it added.

The revenues of cellular, fixed line, national long distance (NLD), international long distance (ILD), broadband, VSAT and radio trunking were added to calculate the size of the Indian telecom services industry.

Cellular revenue contributed a major chunk of telecom services revenue followed by fixed line and ILD. Around 59 percent (Rs 76,608 crore) of the telecom services revenue came from cellular business, a growth of 36.4 percent over Rs 56,183 crore earned in 2006-07.

Significantly, the majority of new subscribers are now coming from towns and villages with population of less than 20,000. The mobile network now covers over half of the nearly 6,00,000 towns and villages.

The mobile services can now be bought from nearly a million outlets a number that far exceeds the number of FMCG or even the postal outlets.

Expansion into rural areas, lowering entry price of owning a handset through attractive offers and customer retention efforts helped ramp up subscriber-base and revenues.

Though fixed line revenues was the second biggest contributor notching up 20.4 percent share of the telecom services business, its growth, however, declined by 11.6 percent to Rs 26,692 crore in 2007-08 from Rs 30,190 crore in 2006-07.

ILD's contribution at 8.8 percent touched revenues of Rs 11,532 crore in the last financial year, up from Rs 11,506 crore in 2006-07. NLD segment grew at 35.4 percent to contribute 7.5 percent to the telecom services business with revenue of Rs 9,732 crore, up from Rs 7,186 crore in 2006-07.

Broadband showed a phenomenal growth of 162.7 percent to touch the revenue of Rs 5,359 crore in 2007-08 from Rs 2,040 crore in the previous year. But the subscriber base grew only to 39 lakh from 25 lakh in 2006-07.

VSAT and radio trunking together contributed just half a percent to the telecom services revenue, the survey added.

UNI

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