EL SEGUNDO, CA—According to a report from iSuppli Corp., India emerged in 2006 as one of the fastest-growing wireless telecom markets in the world. In 2006, the number of mobile-phone service subscribers in India grew to 149.5 million in 2006, up from 85 million in 2005.

And the number of new subscribers continues at a torrid pace. Monthly mobile subscriber additions averaged 5.5 million in 2006, and exceeded 6 million per month by the end of the year.

A rise in per capita income, the arrival of less-expensive phones, declines in tariffs, proindustry and pro-consumer regulations enacted by the government and a host of other factors have been instrumental in driving this growth.

iSuppli predicts that the wireless service subscriber base in India will rise to 489 million by 2011 (see figure), expanding at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 26.5 percent from 2006.

The penetration of wireless technologies remains high in urban areas compared to rural regions, where approximately two-thirds of the Indian population resides. As of December 2006, the urban tele-density had grown to more than 40 percent, compared to rural penetration of little more than 2 percent.