The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), in its figures for August 2012 for all of India, revealed that the total GSM subscriber base in the country now stands at 671.95 million. In its report, the COAI further notes that this total subscriber base figure had been arrived at as GSM operators in the country, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular put together lost more than 7.10 million subscribers. Most GSM subscribers, i.e., 0.79 million were added in the review period by Aircel. Chennai saw most GSM subscriptions, i.e., 1,07,131 being added in the review period.

Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular, put together account for roughly 68 percent of the GSM market and in the review period, they lost over 5.10 million users. Bharti Airtel has a 27.82 percent market share, and in the review period, lost 1.90 million users making its subscriber base fall to 186.9 million. 


Pie graph depicting group company-wise market share of subscribers in August 2012 (figures in percent) 

Going further, the report found that Idea Cellular and Vodafone, two other popular players in the market lost 1.64 million users and 1.55 million users, respectively. With this, Idea Cellular's subscriber base stood at 115.97 million, while that of Vodafone was at 153.35 million at the end of August 2012. 

As per the figures, Aircel and Loop Mobile emerged as the only operators to have witnessed growth in the review period. While Aircel added 793,717 new users, Loop Mobile added 79,842 new subscribers in August 2012. Uninor, on the other hand, as per the figures in the report saw the sharpest decline of 2.38 million users, and its subscriber base now stands at 42.11 million at the end of August 2012.

Another disappointing picture came in recently when the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in its ‘Monthly Highlights on Telecom Subscription Data as on 31st July 2012’ report noted a decrease in the number of telephone subscribers in the country. According to the report, the number of telephone subscribers in India fell to 944.81 million at the end of July 2012, registering a negative growth rate of -2.14 percent. Interestingly, the share of urban subscribers declined to 63.83 percent from 64.40 percent, while that of rural subscribers increased to 36.17 percent in the month of July 2012.  

While telephone subscriptions in the nation saw a marked decline, mobile number portability continued to grow. As per figures projected in this report, Mobile Number Portability (MNP) requests rose from 54.33 million subscribers at the end of June 2012 to 59.31 million at the end of July 2012. In fact, reports add that in July 2012 alone, 4.98 million requests for MNP had been made. In the MNP Zone-I, comprising northern and western India, the most MNP requests came from Rajasthan (5.63 million), followed by Gujarat (5.34 million). In MNP Zone-II, comprising southern and eastern India, the most MNP requests came from Karnataka (7.19 million), followed by Andhra Pradesh (5.72 million). 

Cover Image credit: Getty Images