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India may not need handset imports by 2Q 2007

CHENNAI, India—India has become so attractive to foreign mobile-phone vendors that by next year it may no longer need to import handsets. The two top handset vendors together will produce more than 3.3 million handsets each month, according to the country’s communications minister.

Dayandhi Maran told the Hindustan Times yesterday at a meeting of the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce that with Nokia Corp. already producing 2 million phones each month and Motorola Inc. anticipating production of more than 1.3 million handsets each month beginning in January, that imports could halt in the second quarter of next year. That fact may effectively kill off the import business for those vendors who do not manufacture in-country.

India, with more than 1 billion in population, is one of the largest and fastest-growing markets in the world for mobile phones.

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