India is one of the world's fastest-growing mobile telecom markets, with currently some 150m users. About 5.5m new subscribers were added on average each month in 2007, and last month growth was of 6.1m. Caution, however, as since March 06, WLL (wireless local loop) customers are included in mobile figures in India. With this in mind, the Indian market remains one of the most dynamic (see The Top 10 APAC MNOs) and all forecasts converge to about 500m mobile subscribers by 2010-2012. That means a huge demand for deploying and expanding networks (just 230,000 new towers to be installed by 2010!!). It is why the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is supporting and strongly recommending plans to allow network infrastructure sharing in India. Lower investments and faster deployments are key factors behind this strategy.
The penetration of mobile services remains high in urban areas and very low in rural regions, meaning that recruiting new rural customers and lower-income urban users, will drive ARPU downwards in coming years, and it is not impossible to see the ARPU at $5 by 2010 (from current $7). With such a mobile subscriber base growth, it is likely that India would shortly become the second-largest market in the world after China for mobile handsets in terms of unit shipments. With Reliance, the major local CDMA operator abandoning this technology to go GSM, the GSM technology will still increase its market share to become soon the largely dominant technology.