India's Mobile Growth Slows Dramatically

India's mobile growth rate slowed further in July, when the country's mobile operators managed to increase the total number of connections by just 6.67 million to take the total number of activated mobile connections to 858.4 million.

That may seem like a lot of new connections in just one month, but it's a low total for India and a far cry from the 20.2 million new mobile lines activated during March this year. (See India Crosses 800M Mobile Mark .)

The latest numbers from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) continue the trend that began in April. (See India's Mobile Growth Slows and India's Mobile Growth Rate Slows Further.)

But the total number of new lines in July would have been much higher (maybe nearer to June's 11.4 million additions) if it hadn't been for a decline in mobile customer numbers from Tata Teleservices Ltd. , which reported a drop in its mobile subscriber base of nearly 2.7 million users, leaving it with a total of 88.3 million.

To find out more about Tata Tele's numbers, the market share statistics of the country's 15 mobile operators and the latest data for India's "active" mobile customers and mobile number portability requests, check out this analysis at Light Reading India -- Mobile Growth Slumps in July.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

krbabu 12/5/2012 | 4:53:19 PM
re: India's Mobile Growth Slows Dramatically

What else can we expect? Sooner or later, the number of mobile subscribers has to reach a significant portion of the population. The current subscriber population of 858.4 million is very close to the population figures of 1,210 million from the latest provisional census data. And, the number of people in the 0-6 age group is about 159 million, and we can be certain no child of that age would have its own cell phone.

Thus, even at the rate of 6.6 million addiditional subscribers per month, the subscriber population will probably cross 1 billion in about 2 years. How is that for a market?

WilliamofOccam 12/5/2012 | 4:53:19 PM
re: India's Mobile Growth Slows Dramatically

Is there any information on why TTSL fared so badly? 

digits 12/5/2012 | 4:53:16 PM
re: India's Mobile Growth Slows Dramatically

Hi krbabu

Well, as the full article on Light Reading India points out, while 858.4 millio  mobile connections have been activated, only 601 million are deemed active, and many people in urban centers have more than one active SIM, so there are plenty of adults left who don't have a mobile phone.

Whether those mobile-free adults can afford a mobile phone, or can get a mobile connection where they live, is another issue...


digits 12/5/2012 | 4:53:16 PM
re: India's Mobile Growth Slows Dramatically

Yes, if you go to the full story at Light Reading India (See the link at the foot of the article) it will explain further.

And while it looks bad, Tata is believed to be doing something that all the other long-standing operators will have to do too - clean up their databases.



jagadishbs 12/5/2012 | 4:52:46 PM
re: India's Mobile Growth Slows Dramatically

More than the numbers, one has to acknowledge that the average revenue from new subscriber additions is around one USD a month. And the operators are not even getting back thier investments in a significant number of these cases.

So instead of focussing on the slowing down of the growth rate of new customer acquisition, Indian Telcos has to start biting the bullet and focus on the high value customers.

Even assuming they are 10% of the total subscriber base, it still is a huge number.

Hence the focus should be on Customer Centricity and not Customer Acquisition.

And operators either have large unweildy Enterprise IT applications which are not necessary for a market like India, where speed is of essence, OR they are saddled with poor legacy applications with scatterred databases.

But is anyone listening? :-)

Sign In