India now has over 650 million mobile phone connections

According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), the wireless phone user base grew 2.66 percent to 652.42 million in July, from 635.51 million in the previous month.

With this the total telephone subscriber base in the country, both wireless and wireline connections combined, touched 688.38 million. The total telephone density reached
58.17 percent.

India had already overtaken the US last year and become the second largest telecom market in the world after China, which has 794.78 million connections. Leading institutions such as Gartner say the Indian mobile phone market will overtake that of China'a by 2013.

The growth in India's wireless phone category was led by Bharti Airtel, which added 2.6 million users to take its subscriber base to 139.2 million users. Reliance Communications was next with 2.5 million new subscribers, taking its subscriber base to 113.3 million, while Vodafone added 2.4 million connections taking its user base to 111.4 subscribers.

Among the circles, Tamil Nadu topped the list with 59.71 million subscribers, followed by Andhra Pradesh with 50.51 million, Uttar Pradesh East with 50.48 million and Maharashtra with 48.18 million.

According to the fresh data, the broadband subscriber base grew 2.67 percent from 9.45 million in June to 9.77 million in July 2010. However, the wireline segment declined further.

"Wireline subscriber base declined from 36.18 million in June-2010 to 35.96 million at the end of July-2010," said TRAI in a statement. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), the two state-run operators, hold 83.86 percent of the wireline market share.

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