‘Mobile phone exports may drop to nil in 2015’
While the government is pushing to make India hub for electronics manufacturing with 'Make in India' programme, a report has said that exports of mobile phones are estimated to crash to zero in 2015.
"Mobile market grows by 32 per cent to $12 billion in 2014 but imports take over to occupy three quarters of market. Domestic productions fell by 29 per cent. Exports may crash to zero in 2015," according to the report, submitted by industry body Indian Cellular Association with the government.
Exports of mobile phone have been declining after touching a peak of Rs 12,000 crore in 2012. The export crashed by 70 per cent from Rs 11,850 crore in 2013 to Rs 2,450 crore in 2014 and further estimated to be nil next year in absence of corrective measures, the report said.
The report mentioned shut down of Nokia's mobile phone plant in Tamil Nadu due to tax dispute with government during the year as a factor in decline of exports.
India's electronic mobile market is dominated by imports and mobile phone exports provided some cushion in burgeoning trade deficit. In 2013-14, government faced trade deficit of over Rs 49,041 crore in telecom segment.
"Export of electronics is almost negligible. The only sector which has reasonable manufacturing and export was mobile sector. In fact, during 2008-2012 production was nearly matching India's demand by volume," ICA said.
Meanwhile, the GSM subscriber base in the country rose marginally to 76.23 crore in October with mobile operators adding 62.8 lakh users during the month, industry body COAI said. The GSM user base stood at 75.60 crore at the end of September 2014, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said. “All India GSM cellular subscribers as of October 2014 stood at 762.36 million. The GSM subscribers increased by 6.28 million in October 2014 (0.83 per cent increase from previous month),” COAI said.
COAI, which represents telecom players like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular, said the data does not include GSM subscriber number of Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices.
Reliance Jio Infocomm had also joined the body but the company is yet to start telecom services.
Country’s largest mobile operator Bharti Airtel added the maximum users during the month with 18.59 lakh subscribers joining its network. Its overall user base increased to 21.34 crore at the end of October with a market share of 27.99 per cent. Idea Cellular added 18.50 lakh new subscribers to take its base to 14.54 crore whereas Vodafone added 10.13 lakh users to take its base to 17.48 crore during the reported period.