The Indian mobile market will be the focus of a wave of merger and acquisition activity in 2009 with at least two new players entering the market, according to a new study by Gartner. The report suggests that an increasing number of players are being attracted to the high-growth market, which Gartner predicts will be worth more than US$37 billion by 2012, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18 percent. The study adds that the country’s total subscriber base will exceed 737 million connections by 2012, growing at a CAGR of 21 percent. “The growth in the mobile subscriber base is on the back of a rapidly-proliferating rural market, lower handset costs, and low tariff rates in the Indian market,” said Madhusudan Gupta, senior research analyst at Gartner.
Last week, India’s fifth-largest mobile operator Idea Cellular acquired smaller rival Spice Communications in a deal potentially worth a reported 32.4 billion rupees (US$757 million). Meanwhile, foreign operators linked with a move into India include AT&T of the US, Middle Eastern operators Emirates Telecommunications (Etisalat) and Qatar Telecom (Qtel), and Orascom. Foreign entrants may also soon be able to enter India via a 3G license (see earlier story).