Ericsson to invest $500m in India's telecom sector

Ericsson announced it will invest $500 million in India's 'phenomenally' fast-growing telephone market, an AFP report said.

The AFP report Ericsson will invest the $500 million over the next five years in India, and possibly more, to exploit growth in the sector.

'We will be investing $100 million annually for the next five years,' Mats Granryd, managing director of Ericsson India, was quoted as saying.

The investment announcement came days after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said the total number of telephone subscribers in India had hit 189.9 million, of which 149.5 million were mobile customers, the AFP report said.

Teledensity rose to 17.16 in December 2006, from 11.43 in the same month in 2005, the agency said.

India added 6.48 million new mobile subscribers in December, making it one of the world's fastest-growing mobile markets.

The rapid growth has spurred keen interest in the takeover race for Hutchison Essar, India's fourth-largest wireless operator, controlled by Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa, the report said.

Already at least four players including Vodafone, the world's top mobile phone company, are jostling for position, the report said.