Mobile subscriber base likely to touch 696m in 2012: Gartner

Mobile subscriber base in the country is estimated rise by 9 per cent to 696 million connections this year, according to technology researcher Gartner.

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India’s mobile subscriber base stood at from 638 million connections in calendar year 2011.

Total mobile services revenue in India is projected to reach $30 billion (in constant US dollars) in 2016. The Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) began to stabilise in 2011 – a notable change from the double-digit decline of ARPU between 2008-2010, it said in a statement.

“The staggering growth of mobile connections has been driven by the expansion of mobile services in semi-urban and rural markets and the availability of cheap mobile devices,” said Shalini Verma, principal analyst, Consumer Technology and Markets, at Gartner.

“However, the other performance indicators of the Indian mobile market seem modest in comparison to those of markets such as China.”

At $40, ARPU in India is among the lowest in the world and about one-third of that of China. India also lags behind China in mobile service penetration.

The mobile service penetration in India is currently at 51 per cent and is expected to grow to 72 per cent by 2016, whereas China already achieved 71 per cent mobile penetration in 2011 and is forecast to grow to 119 per cent in 2016.

Mobile data revenue has tremendous growth opportunities in India due to low Internet penetration.While fixed broadband is becoming a norm in several countries, India is lagging behind even emerging markets in fixed broadband penetration.

India’s fixed broadband household penetration was six per cent in 2011, which is lower than the overall penetration in emerging markets (estimated at 16 per cent in 2011).

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