The Indian telecommunication industry is now the 2nd largest wireless market in the world after China and is poised to deliver solid growth forward. The focus on rural penetration and customer affordability will be instrumental in driving the next phase of growth in India. The majority of the wireless net additions have started to come from the rural segment. The telecom industry plays a pivotal role in transforming the lives of the rural households which account for 70% of India's population. An increasing number of rural customers is contributing to the growth in telecom sector.
The rural segment is witnessing a growth of 8-10% every month – giving a substantial boost to the telecom sector. With rural teledensity still below 15%, the opportunities are immense and Airtel is leveraging its fast mover advantage to reach the hinterlands. Currently, more than 60% of our new customers come from rural India. New technologies and paradigms: As growth in data traffic accelerates with the proliferation and adoption of web services the telecom operators will evolve their infrastructure through upgrading their access transmission infrastructure from the base stations to the core switching network.
With increasing bandwidth and data demands, advanced technologies like HSPA, WiMAX and WiFi will be deployed. 3G and BWA auctions will be held in the 2nd half of the year. Convergence will be a vital phenomenon to support all network and IT services, using IP as the strategic technology. Infrastructure sharing may extend to active infrastructure, resulting in opportunity to reduce the costs to deploy mobile network infrastructure. The Enterprise Segment will see increased emphasis on managed services and MPLS technology which provides differentiated and assured Quality of Service (QoS).
Triple Play services (Voice, Data and Video) will gather momentum with telecom operators getting into media space through DTH and IPTV platforms. The DTH market will evolve further as the low levels of reach, quality and service standards of existing cable operators, coupled with growing demand for digital content and introduction of CAS (conditional access system) by the Government of India will all work together give a boost to this segment. Airtel will strengthen its position as an integrated player through offering services across all technologies.
Bharti Airtel will participate in the discussions on the feasibility and the model for adopting 3G and other NGN (Next Generation Networks) related technologies in the Indian context. Our entry into the Sri Lankan market for telecom services in January 2009 is very encouraging. Our experience in the Indian Market and unique value based low cost business model is suitable for the Sri Lankan customer and we hope and expect to establish a strong presence in Sri Lanka, and create value for the Sri Lankan customers.
Strong strategic partnerships: We have a strategic alliance with SingTel, which has enabled us to further enhance and expand our telecommunications network in India to provide quality service to our customers. The investment made by SingTel in Bharti is one of their largest investments made in the world outside Singapore. We have also established strong alliances with equipment and technology partners who share our drive for development of innovative solutions. Ericsson, Nokia Siemens and Huawei are equipment partners supporting our aggressive expansion plans by deploying state of the art technology across our networks.
IBM has been working closely with us to transform our IT systems, key business processes and establishing an enterprise integration platform. Telephone services and long distance networks equipment partners include Siemens, CISCO, WIPRO and Tellabs among others. Nortel, IBM Daksh, Mphasis, Firstsource, Teleperformance, Aegis and HTMT are associated with us for providing excellent customer experience through dedicated call center operations. We have a strategic partnership with Infosys to provide a suite of products, including devices, application servers and interactive applications to enhance digital lifestyle for our customers.
We work with globally renowned organizations such as On Mobile, Comviva, Yahoo, Google and Cellbrum among others to provide each of our customers with a unique experience in the areas of CRBT(caller ring back tone), Music on Demand, Email services and other Airtel Live applications. We are considering a joint venture with Alcatel Lucent for managed services for our broadband and fixed line/telephone services. This is the first Managed Services partnership for Broadband and Telephone Services in India. The joint venture when executed will provide services for Airtel's migration to Next Generation Networks (NGN) to offer advanced services like highspeed internet, Triple Play, media-rich VAS, MPLS, VPN for both retail and business customers.
Threats: Economic Meltdown: There is a global economic slowdown that has severely impacted the largest economies and the effect is cascading down to the smaller and emerging economies. Governments across the globe are offering bailout packages to stimulate growth, infuse consumer confidence and provide employment opportunities. Large multinational corporations are struggling to grow their top-lines. As a result, the Enterprise business may be affected by this but we expect revival of this segment in the second half of this fiscal year. However, the India growth story continues, backed by a strong rural economy.
Increased competition may reduce market share and/or revenue: The wireless market in the year 2008-09 saw the entry of many existing players into newer circles along with operators migrating to GSM from CDMA technology. The coming year will see competition intensify as the market will grow to 550 mn customers. The market also saw the entry of many international and national long distance operators. This may lead to some tariff erosion and pressure on marketing expenditure in the coming year. Bharti Airtel, with its integrated portfolio of product and service offerings will emerge stronger and retain its leadership.