The story of the mobile phones in India is a veritable success story. Its common knowledge that India is among the fastest growing mobile phone markets in the world adding more subscribers every month than any other country. India still adds around 5-7 million new subscribers each month and there is still quite a distance to go before this surge plateaus, at least in the rural market.
The urban market, on the other hand, is showing signs of saturation where the emphasis of the providers is moving from away from SIM card sales to more value-added purchases.
Any way, thats not really the point of this post. What has been surprising from the data is the leap Indian consumer made from no-connectivity to a mobile phone, skipping the landline stage completely. The rise is the tele-density in India simply reflects the rise of mobile phones.
And what is even more remarkable is how far left behind are the public providers in this race. This should put to rest to any arguments that private sector cannot provide for services in the rural India where the margins potentially are not as high and hence the role of Government (or its agencies like BSNL) in the market place.
The biggest loser in of all of this growth :
Admittedly, the traffic crashed between 2000-2002 before the surge in Mobile Phones began, but whatever little uptick that happened around 2003-04 could barely the withstand the onslaught of cellphone revolution. An interesting contrast. Data on the mail is here