In 2010 we believe that Indian Telecom industry expects to continue with its fast pace of subscriber additions, at least 11 million per month, launch of 3G and WiMAX spectrum, while tariff would continue to slide during the year.
The industry having crossed the 500 million subscriber mark earlier in September 2009 itself, the next milestone would be 750 million. (Global research and analysis firm Gartner, in a recent study, estimates Indian mobile users to touch 771 million by 2013).
However, this would be a long way off, even though subscriber addition is expected to continue at fast pace in 2010 as companies expand networks to rural areas and new firms commence operations.
One of the main catalysts for growth would be the launch of 3G and WiMAX spectrum, expected to take place by mid-January. 3G, or third generation telecom services, would result in addition or more subscribers as they would bring in a host of data-enabled services to the industry, and growth would come in from both voice and data.
Additionally, Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had announced the simultaneous auction of WiMax spectrum that would result in adding of additional data-enabled customers on telecom networks. A host of telecom operators are expected to join the bandwagon for WiMax spectrum.
Cheap call tariffs and mobile handsets were other factors that drove demand in 2009, and telecom companies are expected to continue price was both in call rates and instruments in 2010. This, according to industry analysts, will result in telecom sector’s exponential growth.
The industry also expects launching of innovative and customer friendly schemes like the one second billing in 2010. These schemes would continue to help in improving tele-density and penetration of telecom services in rural and semi-urban areas in the country.
The year 2010 would be that of the infrastructure players. Apart from an expected consolidation in the sector, the infrastructure majors will increase the pace of tower rollout across all the 22 circles in the country.
An expected increase in bandwidth landing in the country, with telecom companies are laying more submarine cables, would also benefit the industry. This would be beneficial to bandwidth-intensive sectors like BPO, IT and banking.
The industry expects telecom companies to launch terrestrial cables with 50 GB capacities each, to be hiked depending on demand. This coupled with a planned increase by operators this year and next year, would also result in an increase in capacity landing at Indian shores.