India's CDMA2000 Subscriber Base Surpasses 50 Million

The CDMA Development Group (CDG) today announced that India’s CDMA2000® subscriber base has surpassed 50 million fixed and mobile device users. Subscriber growth reached this milestone only four years after the technology’s introduction to the market, while it it took GSM more than ten years to reach the same number. The CDG attributes this rapid growth in the region to the economic delivery of differentiated value-added services, network expansion into the rural areas of India and the growing availability of very low end (VLE) devices.

“India is an important showcase that demonstrates CDMA2000’s flexibility, performance and efficiency,” said James Person, chief operating officer of the CDG. “CDMA2000 is equally adept in serving a variety of telecommunications scenarios most economically; from urban centers to rural areas, from fixed to mobile deployments, from telephone to television services, and from ultra low-end (pre-paid) to high-end (post-paid) devices. As a result, CDMA2000 is quickly becoming the technology of choice for emerging markets.”

“With up to 2.01 million net subscriber additions in June 2007, CDMA2000’s 5 percent growth rate exceeded that of GSM, at 4.1 percent,. Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices, who are among the top 20 fastest-growing operators in the world, are investing in the CDMA2000 business to further accelerate this growth rate. CDMA2000 devices have witnessed 50 percent year-over-year growth since 2003, with more OEMs participating than with GSM” said B.V. Raman, Country CDG India.

The rapid expansion of the CDMA2000 networks into the rural areas of India to deliver state-of-the-art telephone and broadband Internet access has been a primary factor in reaching the 50 million subscriber milestone. India leads the industry in the introduction of affordable fixed and mobile broadband access to underserved markets. In fact, Reliance has embarked on one of the largest CDMA2000 network expansions on the planet—with plans to reach more than 20,000 towns and 300,000 villages. In addition, CDMA2000 operators are poised to begin a seamless upgrade of their existing networks to the most advanced mobile broadband technology in the industry – EV-DO Rev A.

With trials underway and operators rapidly expanding into the rural areas of the country, EV-DO Rev. A is expected to become a very effective platform for enabling affordable broadband Internet access and value-added services in both rural and urban markets. BSNL has already announced tariff plans for 1X and EV-DO broadband data services, supported by PC cards and USB thumb-drive modems; Tata introduced India’s first 1X USB thumb-drive modem to support its Plug2Surf wireless Internet services; and Reliance recently acquired Yipes Holdings to address the enterprise market. According to leading analyst firm, BDA, it is expected that more than 35 million people will be using mobile broadband services in India by 2010.

CDMA2000 also supports several compelling first-to-market services within many different market segments, including one-number international roaming, fixed wireless Internet modems, Wi-Fi routers, WorldmodeTM phones that operate on both CDMA and GSM networks, fixed wireless telephones, PC notebook data cards, USB thumb-drives, public telephones, and fixed wireless Personal Call Office (PCO) terminals (where CDMA2000 serves more than 50% of the market segment). CDMA2000 operators pioneered India’s first “free lifetime incoming calls” and “One-India-One Rupee” tariff plans and has seen increased momentum for high-end devices, including the LG VX9800, the MotoRazr, the LG8000 (Chocolate), the Samsung Duo and the MotoQ. Reliance Communications’ ‘Classic’ is India’s second largest brand after Nokia. With its 777 handset, Reliance offers subscribers the world’s lowest-priced monochrome phone and sold a record one million of them in a week.

CDMA2000 subscriber growth is also being driven by India’s global leadership in the selection and availability of very low-end (VLE) handsets. There are currently 45 VLE CDMA2000 devices from 14 suppliers available below US$50 in wholesale price. This number is expected to increase dramatically with the further availability of single-chipset devices that are capable of reducing current multi-chipset VLE device prices by 50%. The world’s first single-chipset VLE handset, the MOTOPHONE F3C, was introduced by Tata in July, immediately followed by Reliance’s introduction of the LGE RD3000. Another ten single-chipset VLE handsets are expected to be launched within the next month. To further expand the extensive selection of very low-end (VLE) devices, the CDMA industry in India is moving smartly ahead with its plans to support the local production of CDMA2000 devices.

The CDG also attributes CDMA2000’s record breaking growth in India to its extensive selection of more than 1 million new and differentiated value-added services, such as mobile television, Internet radio, daily news in the local language, Bollywood ring tones, music and movie clip downloads, daily prayers, cricket score updates, high-speed Internet search, instant messaging, location-based services, push-to-talk, distance learning, etc., along with a lifetime of free incoming calls.

CDMA2000 is the most widely deployed 3G technology, with 226 operators in 97 countries, including 76 CDMA2000 1xEV-DO systems, serving more than 350 million subscribers. Counting 2G cdmaOne™ subscribers, there are more than 387 million CDMA users worldwide. CDMA2000 has become the technology of choice for cdmaOne, TDMA, analog and greenfield operators, and is deployed in the 450, 700, 800, 1700, 1900 and 2100 MHz bands. More than 1,700 CDMA2000 devices from over 92 suppliers have been introduced to the market, including more than 440 1xEV-DO and 26 Rev A devices.

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