Ericsson plans major Indian investments

Swedish telecoms equipment giant Ericsson announced plans on Thursday to invest $500 million over the next five years in India – and possibly more – to exploit "phenomenal" growth in the sector.

“We will be investing 100 million dollars annually for the next five years,” Mats Granryd, managing director of Ericsson India, told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in the Indian capital.

“The figure could go up depending upon the growth in the sector,” he said.

GSM cellular mobile telephony in India grew by 100 percent last year, Granryd added.

“This is growing phenomenally and I do not see an end to it,” he said.

Ericsson’s global chief executive office Carl-Henric Svanberg, in India to attend a business leaders’ forum added that the the country’s telecommunications market “has grown by more than double in the last five years and we have a lot of activity here.”

India now has more than 183 million telephone subscribers, of which over 140 million are mobile customers, according to official figures.

Teledensity rose to 16 – the number of telephones per 100 people – in November 2006, the latest month for which figures were available, from 11 in the same month in 2005, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

India added 6.8 million new mobile subscribers in November.

“India’s mobile subscriber base is increasing phenomenally every year – one customer is added every second,” Communications Minister Dayanidhi Maran said last month.