Driven by growth in cheaper mobile phone users and superior network reliability, the Indian mobile phone subscription base has crossed the 1 billion milestone, according to a latest report from TRAI.

The total mobile subscriptions rose to a whopping 1.04 billion by October end from 996 million in September 2015, making India the second country after China to achieve this statistic. Just to put things into perspective, the 1 billion telecom base mark makes the total subscriptions in India nearly three times of USA’s population.

China had reached  a mark of 1.2 billion cell phone users by October 2014. However, India pips China in terms of low tariffs and total number of operators: India has as many as 12 telecom operators seeking a pie of the exploding mobile telephony market.

However, it’s no secret that the telecom market in India is about to get consolidated until only five or six major players remain and the smaller players either exit or get acquired.

The smartphone penetration figures in India isn’t disappointing, but it’s nowhere close to that of developed economies USA and China. A report by IAMAI and KPMG projected that India will reach 236 million mobile internet users by 2016, and 314 million by 2017. China had crossed 250 million 4G mobile phone users, despite a low growth rate in phone users.

The growth story of mobile phones in India is definitely on the upsurge, aided by the government’s dedication towards a robust digital infrastructure to support mobile related services and products. In 2014-15, the Government budgeted INR 500 crore for building infrastructure as per the National Rural Internet and Technology Mission with an additional INR 100 crore budgeted for improving e-governance.

Availability of low-cost smartphones and data plans are further adding to the cause. What with the next wave of 4G ready devices, we can only expect the numbers to keep increasing. Flipkart recorded a huge rise in 4G phones on its Big Billion Day Sale and Reliance Jio is aggressively foraying into the 4G market hoping to cash in on the rising demand for 4G services.

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