The CDMA Development Group (CDG) today announced that there are now more than 100 million CDMA subscribers in India, making it the world's second-largest CDMA market. Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices are placed among the top five CDMA operators globally, ranking second and fourth, respectively. The rapid growth of CDMA users in India is attributed to a wide selection of affordable devices - ranging from entry level handsets to feature-rich smartphones - and the introduction of CDMA2000(r) voice and data services into urban and rural areas, helping to reshape the communications culture of India.
Since CDMA mobile services were introduced in December 2002, the cellular landscape in India changed rapidly. Efforts led by CDMA operators, device manufacturers, technology enablers and the CDG introduced an array of entry-level handsets to the market while tariffs dropped by more than 40 percent. As a result, CDMA reached 50 million subscribers in India twice as fast as any competing cellular technology, and at the same time greatly increased voice telephony and wireless Internet connectivity in India. Now, recently-introduced CDMA mobile broadband solutions are poised to have a similar significant impact on increasing broadband penetration in the country.
"The CDG is encouraged by the continued CDMA subscriber growth in India, and we are proud to have worked with operators and manufacturers to bring wireless voice and data services to over 100 million Indians," said Perry LaForge, executive director of the CDG. "Efforts to bring a wide range of devices into the market have resulted in a tremendously rapid growth of voice telephony in the country. As we look to the next 100 million subscribers, CDMA mobile broadband is already satisfying the demand for affordable high-speed wireless data services, while CDG initiatives will further increase the selection of CDMA voice and data devices."
In March 2009, CDMA operators Reliance and Tata both launched high-speed mobile broadband services, delivering average download speeds of 600-1400 kbps with bursts up to 3.1 Mbps and average upload speeds of 500-800 kbps with bursts up to 1.8 Mbps. Reliance's Netconnect Broadband Plus wireless broadband service is offered nationwide in 35 major cities, 20,000 towns and 450,000 villages, covering 80 percent of the potential laptop and desktop broadband users in India.
"Reliance has been a pioneer and the largest operator of a CDMA platform in India's wireless sector. We have successfully launched and grown new segments in the wireless sector leveraging the unique strengths of CDMA technology, such as Unlimited and Bucket plans in voice usage, Wireless Broadband and anchored applications of PCO, ATM and FWP. We remain committed to further grow and serve our ever-increasing CDMA customer base through innovative applications, superior network quality and service and attractive value-propositions," said Mr. S.P. Shukla, President Wireless of Reliance Communications.
Concurrently, Tata Indicom is offering its Photon Plus services in several large markets including Bangalore, Calcutta, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai, accessible via USB modems as well as routers.
"It has always been our mission to provide quality telecom services to subscribers in India and it is a matter of pride that we have played a role in this 100 million CDMA subscriber achievement. CDMA is a technology that allows a rich telecom experience, especially on the data side, and we are confident that in the years to come that experience will only get better, especially as 3G arrives and we are able to unleash the full potential of applications and services," said Mr. Anil Sardana, Managing Director of Tata Teleservices Limited.
Dr. Mukund Rajan, Managing Director, Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Limited, said, "There were a number of doomsday prophets who questioned the logic behind the introduction of CDMA in India. Today, 100 million satisfied CDMA subscribers, on networks across India that boast the best voice quality and excellent data throughput, vindicate our decision to launch CDMA services in India. The dramatic growth of CDMA in India, in the short span of 6 years, has led the surge in wireless subscriber additions in India and the huge jump in teledensity across the country. Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Limited (TTML), with over 7 million CDMA subscribers and 14 percent market share in the Mumbai-Maharashtra geography that contributes the most to India's GDP, is proud to have played its role in establishing CDMA as a compelling choice for customers."
"Qualcomm congratulates the CDMA ecosystem on this remarkable journey to 100 million subscribers in India, bringing in not just voice, but also wireless Internet and broadband connectivity. India is now the second largest CDMA market globally, and the ecosystem continues to grow with new operators, handset OEMs, content providers and application developers," said Kanwalinder Singh, senior vice-president of Qualcomm and president of Qualcomm India and South Asia. "CDMA triggered the wireless revolution in India by making mobile communication affordable, and has played a key role in bridging the digital divide. Qualcomm, along with its partners, will continue to bring the benefits of advanced CDMA technologies to India for an enriched and differential wireless experience."
Mr. T Narsimhan, Dy CEO, Sistema Shyam Teleservices Limited, the new entrant to CDMA ecosystem, said, "100 million subscribers is a landmark moment for the CDMA industry, and reiterates the huge potential for CDMA to grow in India. MTS is a hugely successful global brand and is committed to revolutionize the manner in which wireless telephony services are made available in the country. We stay committed to the continued explosive growth of CDMA telecommunication services in India."
According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), broadband penetration in the country was only at 5.5 million users as of the end of 2008, and PC connectivity continues to be a limitation in achieving faster growth. Recently launched mobile broadband services by CDMA2000 operators will have the same effect on increasing India's broadband penetration as CDMA2000 1X services had on increasing voice telephony in the region earlier this decade.