Indian telecom industry grew 24 percent to top $24 bn: Survey


New Delhi : Despite the overall slowdown and driven by unprecedented demand for mobile phone connections, the Indian telecom equipment industry grew 20 percent last fiscal to top $24 billion in revenues, says a new survey.

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Interestingly, though, the market for mobile and fixed-line handsets grew just 6 percent because of crashing prices and focus on rural market, said the annual survey by Voice and Data, a telecom industry journal of CyberMedia group.

“We’ve seen this before,” said Prasanto K. Roy, chief editor of Voice&Data. “In a downturn, telecom gains, as businesses deploy cost-saving tech,” Roy told IANS.

“In the last downturn, internet telephony got a boost. This time, it’s video-conferencing, including high-spend areas such as tele-presence.”

According to the survey, Finnish mobile and equipment maker Nokia retained the number one ranking among telecom equipment players. Sweden’s Ericsson, Nokia-Siemens Networks, Alcatel-Lucent and Chinese vendor Huawei made up the other four in the list.

“Despite all the noise about the national security angle of Chinese vendors who are doing extremely well in most other global markets, they have been able to establish themselves as big and acceptable players in India,” said the magazine.

The survey also revealed that the fixed phone market has actually fallen by a third, losing out to the mobile market segment in recent years, which expanded by 7.9 percent in 2008-09.

“Availability of affordable feature-rich mid-range handsets in the market is the secret behind the explosive number growth in the mobile industry,” the survey said.

“With more mobile operators launching services, and established players turning their attention to low tele-density markets, mobile telephony is only likely to continue its growth run.”

The survey says even though the overall telecom sector’s story had been good during the last fiscal, the last few months had its share of challenges too, for which the industry blamed on the government and pressure from vested interest groups.

But the industry hopes that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will intervene himself, as part of his stated plan to review the performance in key ministries, and ensure that all bottlenecks are removed and the telecom industry continues to log high grow.