If anything could be considered somewhere close to the growth of mobile service subscribers in India, it would be the growth of social media users. Data from Internet sources like socialbakers.com shows that number of Facebook users in the country grew at around 24 percent over the last six months and stood at more than 45 million.
By comparison, wireless service subscribers had grown at just under 5 percent during the six-month period of July-December 2011, according to data published by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), albeit from a much higher base of 852 million at the end of June 2011.
What is more interesting and encouraging is that the social media users’ growth is not coming from metros only but also from a number of next level cities, like Kochi, Madurai,  Jabalpur, Agra and Surat. In fact, as many as 12 Indian cities featured in the list of top 100 cities by number of Facebook users. This is second only to United States which had more than 20 cities in the list.  Also, as a country, India is second only to US by number of Facebook users and added more than 8.5 million subscribers during the past six months.
Having said that, there is much ground to be covered.  While US has a Facebook penetration of above 50 percent, the penetration in India is still less than 4 percent. The website data shows that India is second in terms of number of LinkedIn users too.
Could this be related to the rollout of 3G services by various service providers across the country in the past several months? While the contribution of 3G may not be ruled out, it would be difficult to judge how much of the growth in social media users may be attributed to 3G rollouts.
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