Friday, December 31, 2010

Mobile connections cross 4 crore in Gujarat, 1 crore added in just 9 months

From a little over 4,000 in 1997 to over four crore in 2010. That is how Gujarat has progressed in number of mobile connections in the past 13 years. Now, the state boasts of 4,01,58,662 mobile connections.

The October 2010 subscription data report of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), which was released last week, says the mobile subscription in Gujarat stands at 4,01,58,662.

These connections have been provided by 10 operators.
Considering that Gujarat's estimated population is about six crore, the current number of cellularconnections gives one the impression that about 66.6% of people (or 6.66 out of every 10 people) have mobile connections.

But industry sources say there are many who possess more than one connection, so it is not necessarily true that 66.6% of people hold mobile connections.

In May 1997, there were only 4,100 mobile connections in Gujarat. At that time there were only two operators and the incoming charge was Rs8 per minute. It took 11 years for the number of mobile connections to reach one crore in May 2007.

However, the number of subscriptions increased remarkably in short spans thereafter.

Then it took another 18 months for that figure to double. And by the end of January 2010, that is, in only about 14 months, Gujarat recorded a total of three crore mobile phone connections. And soon, in next nine months, one crore connections were added and the number of connections now is over four crore.

Five years back, Gujarat was on the top in the number of connections among 22 circles in India but today it stands seventh.

By end of October 2010, Tamil Nadu had 6.36 crore mobile connections followed by Uttar Pradesh (East) with 5.46 crore, Andhra Pradesh (5.40 crore), Maharashtra & Goa excluding Mumbai (5.23 crore), Bihar (4.63 crore) and Karnataka (4.38 crore). The number of mobile connections in India is now 70.66 crore,of which Gujarat contributes 5.67%.

In last one year, five new telecom companies - Videocon, Uninor, Aircel, Etisalat (GSM service) and Shyam Sistema (CDMA service) - have launched their services in Gujarat. Besides, two existing CDMA players _ Tata and Reliance _ have also started their GSM operations in the state.

Of the total four crore mobile connections, the new players have a share of around 50 lakh connections. Industry sources say since there is a rise in multi-SIM users in Gujarat, there is a huge potential for mobile penetration in rural areas.

"It is pure SIM card penetration in which more than one SIM card is sold to a person. At present, in rural areas of Gujarat the actual mobile penetration is less than 40% so there is a huge potential there," said COO ofBharti Airtel (Gujarat Circle) Shivan Bhargava.

Of the total mobile subscription of 4,01,58,662 in Gujarat, about 3.80 crore are believed to be prepaid connections. "Around 95% of the total mobile connections are prepaid. With more telecom players entering the market, the prepaid connection sales have gone up. Simultaneously, there is also a rise in multi-SIM holders in which people want to try out the cheapest tariff services," said senior vice president (operations) Idea Cellular, Arul Bright.

He said in September and October which are months of festive season, many numbers were added and that pushed the mobile subscriptions to over four crore.

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