Mobile data subscribers in India shrink 9% to 347 million in Q1 2011

The number of subscribers who have subscribed to data services has decreased 9 percent to 346.67 million in Q1 2011-12 against 381.4 million in the same quarter in 2010.
This is despite the agressive roll out of 3G services by all leading operators including Bharti Airtel, BSNL, MTNL, Aircel, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices, Idea Cellular, etc.
This is the first decline in the last 5 quarters, according to TRAI data. 
In June 2010, the number of subscribers who have subscribed to data services was 213.81 million. It grew to 274.05 million (September 2010), 332.43 million (December 2010) and 381.4 million (March 2011).
According to TRAI, 40.70 percent of total wireless subscribers base are capable of accessing data services / internet at the end of Jun-11 as against 46.99 percent at the end of previous quarter.  
The decline mobile data subscribers is evident from Idea Cellular’s recent plans to launch its own IDEA branded smartphones on the Android platform.
The aim is to bring down the prices of smartphone in the country and make it affordable for the customers to accelerate the process from replacing their 2G handsets with the 3G handsets.
The mobile operator has offered 3G services to more than 2.5 million of its existing users to experience a high speed broadband service. But Idea Cellular got response from over 750,000 of these customers in September. 
Idea Cellular believes India is at the  cusp of arrival to the new age digital lifestyle and our 3G high speed wireless broadband services for mobile phone users will help accentuate the change. With passage of time its 3G network coverage has been strengthened in existing cities and we continue on our promise of extensive coverage. Idea Cellular has more than  9,700 3G sites. 
The company is also continuing its effort to reduce the divergence of  data  price between 2G and 3G services thereby helping customers to transition from a low grade data experience on 2G network to a high quality broadband experience on 3G platform.
By Baburajan K