India is the fastest growing market for cellular phones, but that growth still isn’t as rapid as was predicted. In March of 2003 the Telecom Authority of India set a goal of 100 million subscribers by the end of 2005. The actual number was estimated to be closer to 76 million.
The Authority is undeterred. Instead they have set an even more ambitious target. They predict that they will have 200 million subscribers by the end of 2007. They make this claim based on changes in price and policy seen by the market. At the end of last year most operators instituted a new plan that lets people receive incoming calls for their lifetime for just $22.50. That means that subscriber numbers will not decrease if someone cannot afford to pay for outgoing calls. Of course, that also means that subscriber numbers could be quite artificial. The government has also been pushing for a One-India rate that would offer one rate for calls made anywhere in the country.
To achieve the new 2007 goal, subscriber numbers will need to grow by a staggering 5 million per month, up from the 3.5 million per month that adopt currently.