Data Post: India’s cellphone subscribers and average revenue

Here’s some interesting data to sink your teeth into. I am sure you already know that India is the second largest mobile market in the world, and is expected to become toe largest market soon, as it overtakes China.

There’s some great quality data available on the telecoms industry in India. Some of the data is posted by the Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), and other data by the COAI (Cellular Operators’ Association of India).

The one that caught my eye was the data on the number of subscribers and the average revenue per subscriber. The ARPU, as it is called, is one of the lowest in the world, and falling. The worldwide telecom game really is to drive down the costs of operating a cellphone service in order to make money on a much larger subscriber base. This cost game is what’s driving the developing country mobile providers to merge into each other (as in the case with South Africa’s MTN’s attempts to merge with Bharti and Reliance).

Here’s a data table, complete with bars. Raw data is available online as well. As an aside, I had a tough time getting to build a useful XY plot. Some other time, perhaps! 😉

About Gaurav Rastogi
Gaurav Rastogi is a writer and a business-exec living in the San Francisco bay area. His other blog is a personal philosophy blog at

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