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December, 2012

Telecommunication in India: Brief Introduction

India is one of the fastest growing telecom markets in the world wherein the telecommunications sector has emerged as a key propeller of social-economic development in an intensive, knowledge-driven global landscape. Introduction of National Telecom Policy-2012 has furthermore accelerated equitable and inclusive economic growth by laying special focus on providing affordable and quality telecommunication services in rural and remote areas.

The sector's significant contribution to the economic development is clearly reflected in the unprecedented increase in tele-density and sharp decline in tariffs in the Indian telecom sector which accounts for almost 3 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

Key Statistics

Aligning their efforts with international trends, Indian service providers are exploring new ways to capture the markets. They are adopting new technologies like mobile Value Added Services (MVAS), cloud and data-center services, according to a report titled 'Indian Telecom Market Overview 2012'.

  • India's telecom subscriber base stands at 935.18 million at the end of October 2012, according to data released by the sector regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
  • The tele-density, based on total number of mobile connections, has reached 74.21, according to TRAI
  • Furthermore, a study by Bangalore-based Zinnov states that the wireless subscriber market stands at 933.7 million subscribers while the wireline stands at 31.4 million wherein Bharti dominates the wireless segment and BSNL dominates the wireline market

Market Dynamics

The Indian mobile phone market is highly competitive with more than 150 device manufacturers trying to woo the consumers with their offerings. Most of these producers focus their efforts on the low-cost feature phone market, which constitutes over 91 per cent of overall mobile phone sales, offering a huge scope for growth. Manufacturers like ZTE, Micromax, Karbonn Mobile, Huawei stood at sixth, seventh and twelfth positions respectively, in the Indian smartphone market in the first half of 2012. They are constantly enhancing their smartphone portfolio to compete with big global manufacturers like Samsung and Nokia, which held the first and second position respectively.

Samsung's share grew from 15 per cent in the first quarter of 2011 to 49.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2012, owing to its brand strength and wide device portfolio. Industry experts believe that if Samsung continues to take advantage of the high growth opportunities in Indian market, it could end 2012 with more than 60 per cent of the market share.