The telecom subscriber base in India has declined to 939.57 million subscribers at the end of August 2012 from 944.81 million subscribers at the end of July 2012, in the continuation of a disappointing trend. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released these figures yesterday as part of its 'Highlights on Telecom Subscription Data as on 31st August 2012'. 

In addition to registering a negative growth rate in the review period, the share of urban subscribers fell to 63.77 percent from 63.83 percent, while the share of rural subscribers increased to 36.23 percent in the month of August 2012. The wireless segment in the country comprising GSM, CDMA and FWP fared no better. The total wireless subscriber base in the country fell from 913.49 million in July 2012 to 908.36 million at the end of August 2012, thereby registering a monthly growth of -0.56 percent.

Expect pricier bills (Image credit: Getty Images)

Decline for the second consecutive time (Image Credit: Getty Images)

The drop has been attributed to the significant number of disconnections by the players in this space. Wireless subscription in urban areas decreased from 578.90 million in July 2012 to 575.14 million at the end of August 2012. The wireless subscription in rural areas decreased from 334.58 million to 333.22 million during the same period. 

Private operators account for 88.49 percent of the wireless market share, based on subscriber base. BSNL and MTNL, the two PSU operators hold only 11.51 percent of the market share. By the end of August 2012 about 64.92 million subscribers submitted their requests to different service providers for porting their mobile numbers. In MNP Zone-I (Northern and Western India) the maximum number of requests came from Rajasthan (6.17 million), followed by Gujarat (5.66 million), while in MNP Zone-II (Southern and Eastern) most requests came from Karnataka (8.12 million), followed by Andhra Pradesh service area (6.15 million). In the month of August 2012, the total number of subscribers who submitted requests for mobile number portability (MNP) was 5.61 million.

The TRAI highlighted that the wireline subscriber base in the country declined from 31.33 million at the end of July 2012 to 31.21 million at the end of August 2012. The share of urban subscribers rose from 77.01 percent to 77.10 percent in the review period, whereas the share of rural subscribers declined from 22.99 percent to 22.90 percent in the review period.

However, the broadband segment in the country doesn't disappoint for the subscriber base increased from 14.68 million at the end of July 2012 to 14.82 million at the end of August 2012, registering a monthly growth of 1.37 percent. 

As on August 31, 2012, there are 149 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) providing broadband services in the country. Out of them, only 115 ISPs provided data to the TRAI for the month of August 2012. For the rest of the ISPs, data from previous month has been retained. Data from the top 10 ISPs, which constitute 93.57 percent of the total subscriber base, have been received for the month of August 2012. The top five ISPs in terms of market share, based on subscriber base are: BSNL (9.47 million), Bharti Airtel (1.37 million), MTNL (1.06 million), You Broadband (0.68 million), and Hathway (0.37 million).

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