A Guide to India's Telecom Operators

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has carved up the market into 23 different service areas referred to as "circles," which are further divided into categories: "metro" circles covering four major cities, "A" circles for regions with other large cities, "B" circles covering regions with smaller towns, and "C" circles for rural areas. Operators must have a separate license for each circle, and license fees vary depending on the category.

The circles are largely in line with India's 28 states, but several states, for example in the Northeast, have been combined, so that the list looks like this:

Metro circles
  • Mumbai
  • New Delhi
  • Kolkata
  • Chennai

A circles

  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Gujarat
  • Karnataka
  • Maharashtra
  • Tamil Nadu

B circles
  • Haryana
  • Kerala
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Punjab
  • Rajasthan
  • Uttar Pradesh (East)
  • Uttar Pradesh (West)
  • West Bengal

C circles
  • Assam
  • Bihar
  • Himachal Pradesh
  • Jammu & Kashmir
  • Northeast
  • Orissa

The government is phasing out the Chennai metro and has merged it with the Tamil Nadu circle for the purpose of service provider licenses, so from March 31 operators will pay a combined license fee for the two areas. But most operators still consider it a separate circle for the purpose of service provisioning, subscriber counts, and financials.

While metro circles account for just 5 percent of India's estimated 1.1 billion population, they make up close to 18 percent of its mobile subscribers. Metro and A circles have so far provided the majority of subscriber growth but B and C circles are fast catching up, and operators are turning their attention to rural India to tap into the vast potential these more populous regions provide.

Next Page: Licenses

Previous Page
4 of 6
Next Page
trzwuip 12/5/2012 | 3:45:39 PM
re: A Guide to India's Telecom Operators
I've submitted this report to be banned within India because the borders of India as depicted are incorrect.
n3tw0rkg33k 12/5/2012 | 3:43:32 PM
re: A Guide to India's Telecom Operators I second this thought. The map is inaccurate and hurts the sentiments of an indian. Please modify the map to include entire Jammu and kashmir as part of India.
trzwuip 12/5/2012 | 3:43:31 PM
re: A Guide to India's Telecom Operators What are you folks - Sissy's? It's a disputed region - accept that. J&K border is never depicted up to an Indian's liking. That's why all international publications (mostly magazines), which show the map carry an ugly blue stamp stamped by Indian authorities. What a waste! Solve the problem, rather than getting emotional about it.
Sign In