The Indian telecom industry has grown more than 12 times in five years, from just 33 million subscribers in 2004 to 386 million in 2009. Even at its current size, it proved to be fairly immune to the current economic slowdown with 11% of total base being added in the last quarter of 2009.
The total telecom subscriber base rose by 11.45 million in May 2009, with the wireless segment adding 11.6 million subscribers. The wireless subscriber base touched 415.2 million from 403.7 million at the end of April. On the other hand, the number of wireline subscribers decreased by 0.15 million in May 2009, taking the total wireline subscriber base to 37.66 million.
In recent years, the Indian telecom industry has witnessed phenomenal growth. A conducive business environment, favourable demographic outlook and the political stability enjoyed by the country have contributed to the growth of the industry. India achieved the distinction of having the world's lowest call rates (2–3 US cents), the fastest sale of million mobile phones (1 week), the world's cheapest mobile handset (USD 19) and the world's most affordable colour phone (USD 31).