Defying the global economic slowdown, India’s mobile-phone demand is expected to continue to rise at an accelerated rate in 2009 due to the rollout of 3G and WiMAX networks and the implementation of Mobile Number Portability (MNP), according to the latest report from iSuppli Corp.

India’s mobile phone demand is expected to rise to 136 million units in 2009, up 23.9 percent from 110 million in 2008, which compares to 16.8 percent growth in 2008. Cellular subscribers will grow to 319.9 million by the end of 2008, up 36.9 percent from 233.6 million at the conclusion of 2007. iSuppli also estimates that India’s total wireless subscriber base will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 25.1 percent for the period 2007 to 2012, to reach 715 million by the end of 2012.

Indian telecommunications operators presently are focusing on 2G CDMA and TDMA (GSM) technologies to deliver lower-cost mobile services. However, the process of cost reducing 2G-derived handsets seems to have reached its technical limits. iSuppli forecasts 3G and WiMAX will garner subscriber bases of 250 million and 19 million respectively by 2012.

This growth can be attributed to spectrum availability, more affordable price points and support from the government. Initially, the market for these technologies is expected to be driven by corporate and enterprise users and by tech-savvy young people.

MNP will be implemented by the end of 2008 in four metropolitan areas: the National Capital Region, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. These rollouts will be followed by a launch in other areas by April 2009. Experience in nations such as Australia, Japan and Hong Kong has been that the implementation of MNP increases the churn rate, leading to rising competitiveness in the market and iSuppli expects similar results in India. To learn more about this topic, see iSuppli’s new report, entitled: CE and Mobile Telecom Driving India's Electronics Industry at