Dec 19, 2008

India - Delhi joins elite club with 100% mobile penetration

Joji Thomas Philip

NEW DELHI: Delhi has become the first Indian city to have over 100% telecom penetration. The latest government data shows that the city has a mobile
tele-density of 109.9%, or has over 109 mobile connections for every 100 residents.

Delhi, which had about 19-million mobile subscribers as of October-end, also joins the global league of cities with over 100% mobile penetration such as London, New York, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Delhi’s telecom penetration would be much higher, if the landline figures are also taken into account. The Capital was the first Indian city where mobile services were launched in 1995.

“Delhiites love to live well, enjoy life and spend more compared to any other city in India. It’s therefore no surprise that the city’s mobile penetration is more than 100%,” said GSM operators’ lobby COAI director general TV Ramachandran.

Despite an over 100% mobile penetration, the city still has significant scope of adding several million users. It is estimated that nearly a fifth of the city’s population of 17 million, who are in the lower income bracket, do not have a mobile connection.

“Urban markets have achieved near saturation, while the rural market is largely untapped. Operators and handset makers will need to have two different strategies for these markets,” said Nokia India chief D Shivakumar. For operators, this means focus on additional services and better quality in urban India. Companies will have to sell mobility to rural users.

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