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17.6 million new Telecom subscribers added in November – Tata tops with highest subscriber additions


Its getting routine now – Huge number of wireless subscribers are getting added each month. In earlier part of this year close to 10 million telecom subscribers on average were added each month. But with the sharp decline in mobile call rates, the subscriber additions have picked up pace.

I will give you my own personal example – I disconnected my landline recently and switched to having an extra mobile number which will now serve as a landline. I opted for a pre-paid per second reliance number – which really works our cheaper as well better ! The only drawback was that people now have to dial 10 digits instead of 8 !

Coming back to report that TRAI released today, November saw addition of close to 17.65 million new wireless subscribers. While the wireless subscribers addition is happening at fast clip – wireline subscriber fall is accelerating as well.

Here are the highlights of the TRAI report:

  • Total Telephone subscriber base reaches 543.20 Million
    • Wireless subscription reaches 506.04 Million
    • Wireline subscription declines to 37.16 Million
  • 17.65 Million new additions in wireless 
  • Wireline subscription declines by 0.10 Million
  • Overall Tele-density reaches 46.32 %
  • Broadband subscription is 7.57 million

Mobile Service Provider wise net additions for November (in percentage)


In November, Tata grabbed close to 18.84% of overall mobile subscriber share. Bharti, Vodafone and Reliance were neck to neck with 15.85%, 15.74% and 15.70% additions respectively. Idea also faired quite well with 14.43% mobile subscriber share.

Given the aggressive marketing campaign that Tata DoCoMo carried out since the launch of their services, they have been forefront in gaining the maximum market share. Infact, they came up with these innovative per second / pay per call plans that changed the dynamics of the wireless market – All other players followed suit.

But the First mover advantage has ensured that Tata grabbed the biggest chunk of market share for last 3 months running.

  1. […] margin. Think about it – In India Internet penetration is one of the lowest, coupled with very low bandwidth speeds – Even then we are ranked number 4 in the world. So, with fraction of user base compared to […]

  2. Madhav Shivpuri says

    As you guys really watch the telecom numbers closely, I am wondering if you can provide some insight on “why” certain carriers or preferred over others, “what” are their pros and cons, “how” a company achieved their numbers etc.,. [otherwise reading about subscriber numbers will be like a cricket score at the end of the month – “and the winner for this month is…” :-) ]

  3. Madhav Shivpuri says

    Arun, in the last month or so there have many posts on Telecom, twitter, iphone etc., – all interesting but at the same time, topic-wise seems limited. Can I request for some wider coverage of Indian business on your blog?

    1. Arun Prabhudesai says

      You are bang on…yeah…there has been an overdose of telecom/twitter posts. Somehow we have not been able to post wide array of stories.
      I think next week we will try and stay way from them :).

      Also, being the festive season, may not see posts at regular frequency. I will be on a vacation for a week as well, however, Sandy/Ankit/Rabi will keep posting..

      1. Madhav Shivpuri says

        Good to see you take the feedback in the right spirit. I come to your site (like many others) to read your/ your writer’s take on Indian business scene. So yes, wider topics will be appreciated. Wonder if your other readers share my view.

        Wish you and your team Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2010.

  4. Liju Philip says

    will Tata lose money with all those aggressive pricing is what will be fun to see

  5. Vishal Sanjay says

    I knew that Tata tele has done very well this month, guess their joint venture with Docomo was pretty good, even I feel its worth shifting to a mobile connection instead of landline, docomo has gained everyones attention through their really cool advertisements. Even after such a fast growing mobile subscriber base, Indian telecom industry is in a constant fluctuation, we’ll have to see what happens in this quarter, I feel it was a move to make Per Second Calls mandatory, but the telecom ministry should have standardized the prices. Many telecom companies are going beyond limits, which are affecting giants such as Airtel, it started from 1 paisa a sec and now its almost touched half a paisa per sec. Now I’ve got a new idea, i’ll start a telecom company which offers free calls forever and it makes profits from advertisements which are played before making a call and i’ll also monetize it by sending sponsored sms. Nice Idea uh hope the telecom ministry allows this.

    1. Vishal Sanjay says

      I hope there is someone to fund such highly innovative ventures, if there is I think that person is more innovative than me, as he is ready risk his money on me, i would get a series of laughter if I contact someone myself, so its better if someone themself come and agree to fund me, at least for such business ventures.

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