India: 275 million broadband subscribers in five years

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A joint report by industry body Assocham and research firm Frost & Sullivan has projected total Indian broadband subscription to touch 275 million by Y-2015, great news for players who recently won a chunk of BWA spectrum.

The overall Indian broadband subscribers’ base currently stands at around nine million and is seen to be significantly under-penetrated, the report says.

Recent broadband wireless auctions in which operators were allocated spectrum for wireless broadband deployments, however, comes as a much needed respite for future broadband adoption in India.

The report claims that excessively high right way charges, fragmented cable operators, non cooperation in last mile copper unbundling and low data ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) has made operators in India realize that Wireless is the most effective way to provide affordable broadband to masses in country.

With around 43% of Indian internet subscribers still using dial-up connections at the end of 2009, there is potential to migrate existing subscribers to high-speed wireless services.

It is widely believed that the advent of 3G in India will do much to fuel the Enterprise Mobility Market. Indeed, the report points out that with heightened pressures for telcos to augment their stagnating mobile voice revenues, there has been a keen focus on 3G mobile services as a driver for greater mobile data applications adoption.

No surprise then that the major mobile players battled it out to obtain 3G spectrum in those telecom circles comprising a significant number of enterprises, which can be better targeted for mobile data services.

Presently, the Enterprise Mobile Data market consists of telecom service provider revenues generated via Value Added Services (VAS), Data Cards and GPRS. These three segments comprise approximately 17.1% of the total Enterprise Mobile Voice and Data market.

Mobile email is the most dominant application utilized by enterprises in India today, constituting approximately 91.7% of the total Enterprise Mobility market of 452.94 crores in FY 10.

The major winners of BWA spectrum have kept rather quiet about the report thus far, but a source close to Infotel Broadband Services – which recently won a pan India BWA license – said, “there is no doubt that we will leverage the BWA pan India presence in reaching out to the data generation of India. We will definitely witness a multi-fold growth in the subscriber base but we are not throwing any specific number.”

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sylvie barak