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India Crosses 10M Mobile Adds in March

India's mobile operators had a banner month in March, crossing the 10 million mark for monthly new customer additions.

The country's 12 wireless operators signed up a record 10.16 million new subscribers in March, bringing the total customer base to 261.09 million.

That made India the second largest wireless market in the world, overtaking the U.S. with its 258 million subscribers. China is by far the largest market, with a subscriber base of 574.63 million by the end of March.

India had 165.11 million wireless subscribers a year ago, and in 2007 it ranked as the country with the second largest growth in mobile subscribers after China, according to Light Reading's report on the fastest growing emerging markets newly published today: Top 10 Emerging Mobile Markets 2007. (It was the leader in last year's list.)

Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL), India's largest mobile provider, crossed the 60 million subscriber mark in March to reach 61.98 million. Vodafone India , at 44.13 million, is snapping at the heels of the second largest provider, Reliance Communications Ltd. (RCom) , which ended the month with 45.79 million.

Business is picking up again at state-owned carrier Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) , which added 1.89 million subscribers. BSNL’s subscriber growth has been hit by delays in procuring GSM equipment to expand its network capacity, falling to a few hundred thousand, but the carrier seems to have found a temporary fix. (See BSNL Goes for More GSM Gear and Upheaval in India's Mobile Market.)

Indian operators also added 240,000 fixed-line subscribers for a total of 39.42 million -- giving the country 300.51 million overall telephone connections.

— Nicole Willing, Reporter, Light Reading

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