The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in its ‘Monthly Highlights on Telecom Subscription Data as on 31st July 2012’ report released recently 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.
Telephone subscriptions fall (Image credit: Getty Images)
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).
The report notes further, “Subscription in urban areas decreased from 621.76 million in June, 2012 to 603.03 million at the end of July, 2012. Subscription in rural areas decreased from 343.76 million to 341.79 million during the same period. The monthly growth rate of urban and rural subscription is -3.01 percent and -0.57 percent respectively. The overall urban Teledensity has decreased from 169.03 to 163.66 and Rural Teledensity decreased from 40.66 to 40.40.”
The total wireless subscriber base fell from 934.09 million in June 2012 to 913.49 million at the end of July 2012. TRAI, it its report attributes the decline to the large scale disconnections by a host of service provided. The share of urban wireless subscribers fell from 63.98 percent to 63.37 percent, while the share of rural subscribers rose from 36.02 percent to 36.63 percent. Detailing further, the report added that, “Wireless subscription in urban areas decreased from 597.59 million in June 2012 to 578.90 million at the end of July 2012. The wireless subscription in rural areas decreased from 336.51 million to 334.58 million during the same period. The urban wireless Teledensity has decreased from 162.46 to 157.11 and rural Teledensity has decreased from 39.80 to 39.54.”
The report notes that private operators accounted for 88.60 percent of the wireless market, based on the subscriber base. BSNL and MTNL accounted for only 11.40 percent of the market.
Going further, it had been found that the total broadband subscriber base rose from 14.50 million at the end of June 2012 to 14.68 at the end of July 2012, projecting a monthly growth of 1.20 percent.
It noted that as on July 31, 2012, there were 156 Internet Service providers (ISPs) in the country. Of the 156, only 114 ISPs provided data for the month of July 2012 and for those others, data from the previous month had been retained. The top 5 ISPs in terms of market share based on the number of subscribers are BSNL (9.36 million), Bharti Airtel (1.37 million), MTNL (1.08 million), You Broadband (0.66 million) and Hathway (0.37 million).