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Indian Mobile Carriers Add 8.4M Subs

Indian operators are routinely racking up more than 8 million new mobile customers every month, and February was no exception, with 8.42 million additions bringing the country's total subscriber base to 246 million.

According to figures collected by GSM industry body Cellular Operators Association of India and CDMA organization Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUSPI) , India’s nine GSM operators added 6.26 million users and four CDMA operators added 2.16 million. That was slightly less than in January, when they added a total of 8.77 million. (See A Guide to India's Telecom Operators.)

Table 1: Indian mobile subscribers for Feb
Operator Subscribers added in February Total subscribers
Bharti Airtel 2,252,549 59,670,174
Vodafone Essar 1,411,659 42,557,072
Reliance Communications 1,274,109 37,502,607
IDEA Cellular 918,871 22,873,556
Tata Teleservices 861,044 23,402,473
BSNL 824,284 34,572,883
Reliance Telecom 335,857 6,337,835
Aircel 251,367 10,185,182
Spice Communications 141,377 4,084,205
MTNL 108,632 3,121,831
HFCL Infotel 21,873 290,703
BPL Mobile 19,685 1,276,219
Shyam Telelink 1,871 104,866
Total 8,423,178 245,979,606
Source: Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUSPI)




Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL), India’s largest mobile operator, added 2.25 million GSM subscribers to take its total base to 59.7 million. Ranking second is Reliance Communications Ltd. (RCom) , which added 1.61 million subscribers -- 1.27 million on its CDMA network and nearly 336,000 on its GSM network operated by subsidiary Reliance Telecom -- ending the month with 43.8 million.

Vodafone India in third is closing in on Reliance, adding 1.41 million users for a total of 42.56 million.

State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) accounts for most of the dip in subscriber growth as it signed up 824,000 more GSM subscribers, down from the 1.18 million additions it reported in January. The carrier's growth continues to be hampered by a lack of spare capacity and its difficulties in procuring new network equipment, but it has recently placed orders with Nortel Networks Ltd. and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) to add capacity for 5 million new lines. (See BSNL Goes for More GSM Gear.)

Based on the COAI's numbers, GSM operators gained the most new subscribers in the regions of the country known as "B circles," which cover towns and villages rather than the large cities included in "A circles." B circles accounted for 2.42 million new subscribers, compared with 2.05 million additions from A circles. Metro circles -- the cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata -- accounted for 687,000, while the more rural villages in C circles accounted for 1.1 million new customers.

In addition to the mobile figures, according to AUSPI, BSNL also had 4.33 million subscribers using CDMA-based wireless local loop (WLL) technology, up by 92,000 over January. Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (MTNL) had close to 282,000, up from 272,000.

— Nicole Willing, Reporter, Light Reading

menexis 12/5/2012 | 4:06:49 PM
re: Indian Mobile Carriers Add 8.4M Subs This year is no exception either. While most mobile carriers are seeing a slow in subscriptions a bit in the United States, Indian operators are racking up new mobile customers.
vsomanv 12/5/2012 | 4:06:46 PM
re: Indian Mobile Carriers Add 8.4M Subs thats quite something you have rummaged out... definitely India seems to be adding subs in leaps and bounds... New entrants would start rolling in services, 3G would kick in, mobile branding, managed services for vendor, loads of competition and drop dead tariffs. This is going to dominate Indian Telecom Industry for the next 2 years 2009 and 2010 would see all of this and much more. Makes sense for all the biggies to FOCUS.
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