The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has released its GSM subscriber figures for the month of February 2013. As per the figures, the total number of GSM subscribers at the end of February 2013 stood at 655.59 million. It notes that the number of subscribers in this segment fell by 1.97 million in February 2013, thereby registering a drop of 0.30 percent from the previous month. Bharti Airtel emerged as the telco with the maximum number of GSM subscribers at 186.62 million and UP (E) is the circle with the most number of GSM subscribers at 58.10 million. 

COAI figures depict that the drop in the number of subscribers has been largely due to Uninor losing as many as 8 million subscribers. The telco lost 8.34 million subscribers during the review period and at present, its userbase stands at 31.77 million. Those following our reports over the past few weeks would know that Uninor shut its operations in several circles. Reports quoted Uninor as saying, “In the six circles where Uninor operations are continuing, the company has added 1.2 lakh new subscribers in February.”

Porting worries! (Image credit: Getty Images)

GSM subscriber base falls!  (Image credit: Getty Images)

Another operator Videocon too lost 0.19 million subscribers, reducing its user base to 2.06 million. MTNL lost 0.20 million subscribers, taking its total subscriber figures down to 4.91 million. Aircel lost 0.69 million users to drag its base to 60.87 million.

It was Idea Cellular that managed to add 2.85 million new subscribers during the preview period, taking its user base up to 119.25 million. Bharti Airtel too added 2.42 million subscribers, taking its base up to 186.62 million. Vodafone added 2.18 million new subscribers and its user base is at 149.88 million. 

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), which released figures as part of its telecom subscription data recently, did not have much of a good news to share, either. As on January 31, 2013, the number of telephone subscribers in the country continued to fall – 893.51 million at the end of January 2013 from 895.51 million at the end of December 2012. The share of urban subscribers has decreased to 61.87 percent from 62.20 percent while that of rural subscribers continued to rise. It stood at 38.13 percent in the month of January 2013. 

The wireless subscriber base in the country too saw a decrease – 864.72 million in December 2012 to 862.62 million at the end of January 2013. TRAI attributes this decline primarily to the deactivation of inactive SIMs in large numbers by some service providers. Here, the share of urban subscribers decreased from 61.65 percent to 61.31 percent while that of rural subscribers rose from 38.35 percent to 38.69 percent. 

Mobile Number Portability, however, continued to show positive numbers. By the end of January 2013, roughly 84.26 million subscribers sent their porting requests to service providers. In MNP Zone-I (Northern & Western India) maximum number of requests came from Rajasthan (7.96 million), followed by Gujarat (7.34 million). In MNP Zone-II (Southern & Eastern), maximum number of requests were received in Karnataka (10.20 million), followed by Andhra Pradesh Service area (7.62 million). In the month of January 2013, total number of subscribers to have submitted their request for MNP was 4.20 million. 

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