India is the world’s second largest telecom market after China, with a total of around 935 million subscribers as of mid 2014, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Landline telephone subscribers totaled only 28.5 million in 2000.
Still one of the fastest growing telecom markets, the number of telecom subscribers experienced a 35 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2001 and 2011, according to TRAI.
Only about 75 of every 100 Indian adults is a phone subscriber, however, a high level but less than the density of China or Brazil, and below the world average, indicating strong prospects for future growth.
The vast majority of the telephone subscriptions, 907 million, are for wireless service. Urban density is higher, indicating that many individuals have multiple subscriptions, in contrast to the rural areas where density is rising but the opportunity remains large. In the decade of 2002 to 2012, rural density increased from 1.2 million to 38.5 million, according to TRAI.
Private players dominate over 90 percent of the telecom market. They include: Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Reliance Communiciations, Aircel, and Tata Docomo. Some of these brands are also leading providers of broadband service. All are attempting to increase revenue with data consumption, competitive rate plans, and new customer services.
The telecoms category includes brands that provide landline, cellular and broadband services.