India loses millions of mobile users

Mobile subscriber net additions grew in every market of the world in the third quarter, except India where some 18 million subscribers vanished, figures from Ericsson show.
While even the stagnated market of Western Europe managed to find an additional one million subscribers during the quarter, India’s net adds fell. The reason, according to Ericsson’s regular Mobility Report, is that operators in the country set about removing inactive subscriptions from their books.
Not that the decline leaves India in a bad position. The country remains the world’s third largest market in terms of total subscriber numbers, with 913 million users compared to 1.1 billion users in China – the second largest market – and 1.2 billion in the rest of Asia Pacific excluding China and India.
Central and Eastern Europe was the world’s most heavily penetrated mobile market during the quarter on a figure of 128%, with Western Europe hot on its heels with a penetration rate of 127%. That is some way ahead of third placed Latin America, where penetration stood at 112% by end 3Q12.
The vendor predicts that total global mobile subscriptions will stand at 6.6 billion by end-2012, and hit 9.3 billion by end-2018. The firm doesn’t count potential machine-to-machine subscriptions in those forecasts, meaning the total figure could be much higher by 2018.
Other highlights of the report include a prediction that mobile subscriptions for PCs, mobile routers and tablets featuring a large screen will grow from 250 million in 2012 to 850 million in 2018, exceeding the number of fixed broadband subscriptions in the process. Ericsson also predicts LTE subscriber numbers will hit 1.6 billion by end-2018, and that mobile data traffic will grow at a CAGR of 50% between 2012 and 2018