TRAI yesterday released the Indian Telecom Subscription data as of September 2011 and it is now clear that the growth of mobile subscribers is tapering off. What used to an average of around 15 million subscribers month on month is now averaging nearly half.
At the start of the year, I was quite confident that if the rate of growth remains constant, India will touch 1 Billion subscriber mark by year end. However, last 6 months have been quite sluggish. Take a look at the chart below that shows fall in numbers compared to March 2011.
Indian Mobile subscriber base addition since March 2011
In last 4 years, it is first time that less than 10 million mobile subscribers have been added consistently for 3 months in a row.
Snapshot of Mobile Subscriber additions in September 2011
The wireline subscriber base has been consistently falling over past 4 years, and this month was not different – it lost about 2.22% of subscribers. The total telecom subscriber base (mobile + wireline) in India now stands at 906.93 million.
Out of 7.90 million total mobile subscriber base added – 5.58 million were from urban, while 2.32 mobile subscribers came from rural areas. The total teledensity now stands 75.48%
Mobile Number Portability Requests
25.70 lakh mobile subscribers made MNP requests in September 2011 as compared to 25.12 lakh last month. The total MNP requests in the country now stands at 2.06 crore!
Operator wise Monthly Mobile Subscriber Addition
September proved to be a stellar month for Uninor – It added about quarter of all the mobile subscriber additions in month of September. Uninor is the only operator right now who is still playing on the game of low tarriffs. Currently, in terms of mobile tarriffs, they are the lowest. Infact, their recent launch of Zero Paise per second plan seems to have garnered them huge chunk of subscribers – 1.92 million to be precise
Idea seems to be the biggest gainer from MNP requests – Since last 3 months they have had more subscriber additions than the big 3 mobile operators – Bharti, Reliance & Vodafone!
Popular belief that MNP will help smaller operators seems to have vanished because most of the smaller players have lost subscribers to their bigger counterparts!
The pecking order remains the same – Bharti leads with close to 1/5th of total Indian Telecom Market share. Idea is gaining rapidly and now is 4th with 11.47% market share. For me, the biggest surprise Tata’s lack of growth in subscriber additions over last 6 months or so. They have lost over 2% of market share since then.
Broadband Subscriber Growth in August 2011
Broadband is growing at a snails pace, with only 1.5 Lakh new subscribers getting added in August. India now has a total Broadband subscribers base of 12.84 Million!
Check out the full TRAI press release.