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The Year That Was: 2007
Rediff looks back at the highs and lows, the successes and failures, the heroes and villains, the wild and the overblown that made this year.

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The fastest growing telecom market in the world

December 5, 2007

It has been an exciting year for India's telecom sector.

The fastest growing telecom market in the world saw an addition of 7 million mobile telephone subscribers every month.

Vodafone's buyout of Hutch-Essar, the scramble for new telecom licenses and further fall in tariffs were the other highlights of the sector in 2007.

India now has 250 million telephone subscribers. September saw an addition of 7.64 million telephone connections. The overall teledensity reached 21.85 per cent in September as against 21.20 per cent in August.

Steering India towards a new level of wireless telephony, the government announced the release of spectrum for 'third generation' (3G) mobile services. But cellular operators are currently at war over spectrum allocation norms. The government has also promised to introduce number portability which allows users to switch operators while retaining cell phone numbers.

About 46 companies have submitted 575 applications for new telecom licences. Real estate companies DLF, Unitech, Parsvnath Developers, Omaxe and Indiabulls Real Estate are among the applicants!

The year also saw the exit of IT & Communications Minister Dayanidhi Maran, paving the way for A Raja to take over. During Maran's tenure, foreign direct investment cap in telecom increased to 74 percent. Access deficit charges were slashed which lead to a fall in mobile tariffs.

And the big ticket deal of the year -- in February, British telecom company Vodafone acquired a 67% stake in Hutch-Essar at an enterprise value of $19.3 billion.

Image: Cellphones have crossed India's economic and social divides. Witness this Indian rickshaw puller on his mobile phone in New Delhi. Photograph: Prakash Singh/AFP/Getty Images
Also read: What makes Indian telecom unique?
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