Bangalore,Oct 30: Mobile phones are fast moving beyond their primary role of voice communication and becoming multi-tasking devices as the number of wireless subscribers in the country totals 89.2 crore, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) said today.
With prices of mobile handsets coming down and disposable incomes going up, people are changing handsets quite often.
India now ranks as the second fastest growing telecom markets in the world after China with 59.1 crore users in urban areas and 30.1 crore in rural, the industry body said in a statement.
Mobile phones are no longer used only for staying in contact with others but have become devices to provide a host of entertainment options, according to a ASSOCHAM survey in six major cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. A total of 1,370 responses were gathered from people in the age group of 20 to 30 years.
Nearly 39 per cent of them said they switch to a new phone in less than two years for new applications. The findings suggest that friends are the single most important source of information while purchasing a handset. “The telecom industry must understand the importance of referrals. Manufacturers should try to associate themselves with events and causes which help in brand recognition,” said ASSOCHAM secretary general D.S. Rawat.
The brand influenced first purchase of a handset with 39 per cent of respondents, price with 17 per cent and availability of the latest model with over 10 per cent. But for second purchase, quality ranked on top with 15 per cent respondents.
Applications, Bluetooth, GPRS, built-in camera, FM radio, Mp3 player,video recording and speaker phone are key factors influencing purchase of most young mobile phone users who are inclined towards social networking, listening to music, playing games, reading news, surfing the Net, chatting with friends and families, and even checking their bank balances with handsets.
Among the companies, Nokia remains a leader with 39 per cent market share followed by Samsung with 17.2 per cent and Micromax 6.9 per cent- the rest being split among Blackberry, LG, G Five, Karbonn, Spice, Maxx, Sony Ericsson and others.
The share of private service providers now stands at 88.27 per cent while public sector companies BSNL and MTNL account for 11.73 per cent of the market. Tele-density in urban areas is 65.91 per cent and in rural areas 34.09 per cent.
The next phase of growth will come from rural markets, said ASSOCHAM adding that introduction of dual SIM technology has been a game-changer for the handset market.