Indian cell phone users rise to 12 million

By SiliconIndia   |   Tuesday, 18 February 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: The number of cellular phone users in India surged 95 percent in January from a year ago to 11.16 million, the Cellular Operators Association said. But the number of new subscribers added in January fell nine percent to 682,711, although the user base is set to meet industry expectations of touching 12 million by March 2003, according to a news agency.

The main players in the cellular market are Bharti Tele-Ventures Ltd -- 16 percent owned by Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, state-owned telecom giant Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) and the Indian mobile unit of the Hutchison Whampoa conglomerate.

Other players are Idea Cellular Ltd, partly owned by U.S. firm AT&T Wireless Services Inc, and state-run Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. The unlisted BSNL -- which has the license to provide cellular services across India except New Delhi, the national capital, and Bombay, the financial hub -- began its services in October and has attracted new users in small towns and cities.

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