It is these markets that are now spurring much of telecom growth. Over a period of nine months, from January to September 2005, the subscriber base in B and C circles grew by 44.7 per cent and 46.7 per cent respectively - more than double the 22.2 per cent growth in metros. Of the 60 per cent volume growth expected in the Rs 80,000-crore telecom industry in 2006, more than half is expected to come from small towns.
Look at it another way. Of the 180 million mobile phone subscribers that India expects by the end of 2007, at least 85 million will be from B and C class towns. Currently, only 28 million of the 71 million mobile phone subscribers in India are from these areas.
Arun Natarajan is the Founder of Venture Intelligence India, which tracks venture capital activity in India and Indian-founded companies worldwide. View sample issues of Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.