India to lead global wireless growth

By siliconindia staff writer   |   Friday, 21 January 2005, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: As mobile phone growth in China stagnates, India will lead the world for wireless rollout less-developed countries and rural areas, a new survey reveals. 'India's wireless market requires fresh thinking regarding average revenue per user (ARPU), infrastructure design, handset supplies, and digital applications and content,'' said Chetan Sharma, President of Chetan Sharma Consulting. ''Increasing rural tele-density is a major piece to the puzzle, and building services around low ARPUs is the solution,'' he added. The study, based on interviews with executives of telecom operators, application developers, manufacturers and other players found out that wireless market growth in India hinges on increasing tele-density above its current 1.7 per cent level in the rural areas that represent 70 per cent of the population. There is a realistic opportunity to add 100 million wireless subscribers over the next 2-3 years. It said there were significant opportunities for digital applications such as Push-To-Talk (PTT). The key to success was tying digital applications into local interests such as the Indian film industry, cricket craze, and local festivals, it added. The report said India's wireless market was a test bed for alternative infrastructure, handsets, billing systems, business models and marketing strategies that will likely prove applicable to other developing countries. India's telecom market is also a minefield, it added. ''Vendors must not only understand the market, regulations, and competition: they must learn the nuances of India's business practices and wireless value chain.''