[the national] Foreign mobile operators including Etisalat will have a tough time making a go of it in India unless its regulator eases restrictions on acquisitions and roaming, industry experts say.
India is the second fastest-growing mobile market in the world behind China, with a record 20.3 million new users added in March, figures from the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) show. The world’s second-most populous country had 621.28 million mobile subscribers as of last month, about one account for every two Indians.
But the country’s fragmented market – with up to 17 operators offering mobile service in a single area – makes it difficult for the companies to build up the scale they want, much less make a profit.
India’s auction of the promising 3G spectrum earlier this month did not change the outlook despite the rich bidding. No bidder landed a nationwide presence.a
Foreign mobile operators face tough task in India