India Expects 650 Million Mobile Phone Users by 2012

India added a record 10.42 million new mobile users in October, bucking a slowdown in the rest of the economy.

India could double its number of mobile subscribers by 2012 to 650 million, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh forecast on Dec. 11. The country, which boasts the world's fastest growing cellular market, had 325 million mobile phone subscribers at the end of October.

"At this rate of growth, the total telecom subscriber base is expected to reach 700 million by the year 2012 with about 650 million mobile users and 50 million landlines," Singh told a telecommunications industry gathering.

India added a record 10.42 million new mobile users in October, bucking a slowdown in the rest of the economy. The new additions were up from 10.07 million new subscribers in September, data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India showed.

India still lags far behind China which has more than 600 million mobile users.

Teledensity -- the number of users per 100 people -- stands at 30.64.

Singh said new subscribers were increasingly coming from rural areas, where fewer people own phones.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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