India's Going Mobile! 52M New Subs in H1

Indian operators added a whopping 52 million new mobile subscribers during the first half of the year, 8.93 million of them in the month of June alone.

According to stats from the Cellular Operators Association of India and Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUSPI) , which represent the country's GSM and CDMA operators respectively, India had a total of 282 million mobile subscribers at the end of June, of which 212.51 million were served by GSM-based networks and 69.49 million were CDMA-based.

Table 1: Mobile subscriber additions, June & H1
June subscribers May subscribers Additions December 2007 subscribers
GSM 212,507,383 205,812,730 6,692,916 172,219,135
CDMA 69,489,907 67,248,349 2,241,558 57,058,033
Total 281,997,290 273,061,079 8,934,474 229,277,168

Data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today shows the total wireless subscriber base at 286.86 million when wireless local loop connections are included.

Table 2 shows the breakdown of subscribers by operator. (See A Guide to India's Telecom Operators.)

Table 2: June subscriber additions by carrier
Carrier June subscribers June additions
Bharti 69,383,716 2,557,781
Vodafone 49,195,098 1,728,245
Reliance Communications 42,707,433 1,369,692
IDEA Cellular 27,194,205 1,053,562
Tata Teleservices 26,329,804 853,742
Aircel 11,924,843 432,857
Reliance Telecom* 8,082,567 370,308
BSNL 37,362,897 365,479
MTNL 3,437,716 87,279
Spice 4,547,870 50,195
BPL Mobile 1,378,471 47,210
HFCL Infotel 342,896 16,746
Shyam Telelink 109,774 1,378
Total 281,997,290 8,934,474
*Estimate, as Reliance Communications didn't break out numbers for its Reliance Telecom subsidiary in June

Market leader Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL) added 2.56 million new subscribers in June to take its subscriber base to 69.38 million. (See Subs Growth Drives Bharti, IDEA Revenues.)

CDMA-based Reliance Communications Ltd. (RCom) and its GSM-based Reliance Telecom network added 1.74 million to push the company's combined subscriber base past the 50 million mark at 50.79 million. Vodafone India came close behind with 1.73 million new customers for a total of 49.1 million.

BPL Mobile , which operates only in the Mumbai area, saw a large jump in its monthly additions, signing up 47,210 new customers in June compared with 17,475 new customers signed up in May.

A few other carriers reported a drop in new subscriber additions -- Idea Cellular Ltd. added 1.05 million customers in June compared with 1.1 million in May; Aircel Ltd. added 432,857 in June, down from 500,000 in May; and Spice Telecom , which is in the process of merging with IDEA, added just 50,195 new subscribers in June compared with 130,000 in May.

State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) added 365,479 new subscribers, a slight improvement on May, when it signed up 314,000 users, but it is well below the larger operators from which it hopes to regain market share. The carrier has recently delayed opening the bids on its equipment contracts for 93 million lines. (See BSNL Delays New GSM Tender.)

— Nicole Willing, Reporter, Light Reading

Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to Broadband 2.0: Making the Business Case, a 2-day roadshow that will provide attendees from among India's fixed and wireless carrier communities with an exclusive and intensive overview of how broadband wireline and wireless services can be enhanced to improve ARPU, ROI, and churn. The event will be staged in New Delhi on September 10 and Mumbai on September 12.

lrmobile_kumaramitabh 12/5/2012 | 3:35:47 PM
re: India's Going Mobile! 52M New Subs in H1 The trend of usage seen has demonstrated an unprecedented usage of value added services such as download of ring tones, wall papers and use of SMS.

A hastening of the auction of 3G spectrum can lead to generation of new revenue streams, which at 300 million users will constitute a recognizable percentage of GDP. This particularly applies to applications such as mobile tv which are usually billed as monthly subscription.

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