Mobile additions to reach 10 million a month

Confident over second wave of revolution in mobile telephony coming from rural India, Cellular Operators Association of India on Monday said monthly additions would touch 10-million mark by December this year.

“We are already creating record by adding upto seven million subscriber every month now and and we are absolutely sure to achieve the 10-million mark by December 2007,” T V Ramchandran, Director-General of COAI, an association of GSM operators body said.

COAI’s confidence stems from recent announcements by private cellular operators like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone-Essar, Idea, Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices, to expand their existing capacities.

Besides this state owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd will be adding a whopping 23.5 million lines in the coming months for which orders are being placed with the vendors, Ramchandran said.

Bharti recently placed a two-billion dollar deal, the biggest ever by a private operator, with Ericsson to add capacity in 15 circles with focus on rural areas. The company had also placed 900 million dollar contract with Nokia Siemens for eight circles.

Currently, India has about 190 million mobile subscribers and the government has fixed a target of 250 million phones (both mobile and fixed line together) by 2007, he said adding, “growing at this pace the target will be achieved in advance.. … by the end of 2007 we shall surpass the target.”

Realty major Parsvnath Developers had also recently announced its plan to offer GSM-based mobile services across the country, which could require an investment of nearly Rs 6,000 crore over the next few years.

It has applied for licenses in 22 circles.

UK’s telecom major Vodafone has also entered India this year in partnership with Essar and announced an investment of two billion dollar for expansion.

CDMA player Reliance has also applied for licenses to offer GSM services.