After months of posting declining numbers for telephone subscribers, TRAI finally reported an increase in that number at the end of March 2013, in its Highlights on Telecom Subscription Data as on 31st March”. The number of telephone subscribers in the country increased to 898.02 million at the end of March 2013, from 892.02 million at the end of February 2013, thereby registering a monthly growth rate of 0.67 percent. The share of urban subscribers grew to 61.11 percent from 61.08 percent, while that of rural subscribers fell from 38.92 percent to 38.89 percent.

The growth reflected in the wireless segment too, as the wireless subscriber base increased from 861.66 million in February 2013 to 867.80 million at the end of March 2013, thereby registering a monthly growth of 0.71 percent.  Private operators managed to claim 87.76 percent of the wireless market share (based on subscriber base) whereas BSNL and MTNL held only 12.24 percent of the market share.

New guidelines should put an end to pesky SMSes (Image credit: Getty Images)

Telephone, wireless subscriber base grew in March 2013 (Image credit: Getty Images)

Moving over to Mobile Number Portability (MNP), the report found that by the end of March 2013, about 89.70 million subscribers had submitted their porting requests to different service providers. In MNP Zone-I (Northern and Western India), most requests came from Rajasthan (8.55 million), followed by Gujarat (7.71 million). In MNP Zone-II (Southern & Eastern), most requests came from Karnataka (10.72 million), followed by Andhra Pradesh (8.12 million). On a whole, in the March 2013, the total number of subscribers who submitted their MNP requests stood at 2.87 million.

The broadband subscriber base in the country rose from 15 million at the end of February 2013 to 15.05 million at the end of the review period. By the end of March 2013, there were 161 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) operating in the country. The top 5 ISPs in terms of market share were – BSNL (9.93 million), Bharti Airtel (1.40 million), MTNL (1.08 million), Hathway (0.37 million) and You Broadband (0.31 million).

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