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Indian Mobile Subscription Numbers fall (again) to 904 mln in Oct 12!

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The fall in Indian mobile subscriber number continues…

According to latest TRAI Telecom subscription data released by TRAI for October 2012, India further lost 2.39 million subscribers taking the tally to 904.23 million. If you look at the telecom subscriber data for past 20 months (see graph below), it looks like the growth has stopped and we are on decline in terms of mobile subscribers. However, that is not true.

Infact, in some ways, I am quite happy because the data that used to be reported earlier (before March of this year), actually accounted for inactive subscribers as well. Meaning, the numbers that got reported included sim cards that were issues to users, but were either not used for a long time or were inactive.

Due to policy changes, telecom operators now cannot report mobile numbers that have been inactive for past 3 months. Due to this, all the inactive numbers are getting flushed out of the system and actual data is getting reported.

October 2012 Mobile subscriber Data

It is clear from the data reported by TRAI that Urban India has bulk of inactive mobile numbers. It shows that Urban subscriber count fell by close to 5 million, while the rural India added 2.5 million new subscribers.

Telecom Subscription Data Highlights [October 2012]

– Indian mobile subscriber numbers fell by 2.39 million in October 2012 bringing the total tally to 904.23 mln.

– Urban India witnessed a fall of 4.88 mln subscribers, while mobile subscribers in Rural India grew by 2.50 mln.

– Rural Mobile subscriber monthly growth rate was 0.75 percent as compared to urban growth rate of negative 0.85 percent.

– Urban Teledensity fell to 153.06 while the rural tele-density grew to  39.78 from previous 39.52.

– Urban mobile subscriber share stands at 62.68% as compared 39.78% rural subscribers

5.36 million new Mobile portability requests were made in month of October 2012, taking the total tally of MNP requests since launch to 75.14 mln

– Out of total 904.23 million, 703.92 mln were active mobile subscribers in month of October 2012 (Peak VLR data).

– 1.3 lakh new Broadband subscribers were added in month of October taking total tally to 1.48 crore.

– Delhi (229.95) has over 3 times the teledensity as compared to the National average (76.75). Lowest teledensity was registered in Bihar (46.93)

– Wireline Subscriber base fell to 30.95 mln as compared to previously 31.08 million.

– India’s total telecom subscriber base (wireless+wireline) has fallen to 935.18 mln.

Operator wise Mobile Subscriber Additions [October 2012]

October monthly additions

Tata lost most subscribers in October with a fall of 1.6 million followed by Uninor who lost 1.1 million subscribers. While Bharti, Vodafone and Idea have been relatively unscathed by inactive subscriber pruning, while Tata and Reliance have lost tremendously to it. In July 2012 alone, Reliance lost over 20 million subscribers. Tata has been regularly loosing for past 12 months.

Operator wise Total Market Share [October 12]

October telecom market share

Bharti is sitting pretty at top with 20.62 percent of Mobile Telecom market share, with 186.4 million mobile subscribers in their kitty. Vodafone and Reliance always had neck to neck competition for 2nd and 3rd position, but with steep fall in Reliance numbers, Vodafone (16.94%) is not 2 percentage points ahead of Reliance (14.82%). Vodafone has 153 million subscribers compared to Reliance’s 134 mln.

Idea comes in at 4th position with 115.7 mln followed by BSNL’s 99.99 million.  By now BSNL has easily crossed 100 million subscriber mark. Among the newer telecom operators, Uninor is the only one who have some significant numbers to show having 41 million subscribers in their kitty

It is interesting that 2 years back, in 2010, I used to talk about India reaching the 1 billon subscriber mark by 2011. We are now at the fag end of December and I don’t even entertain that thought anymore!

[Full TRAI October report]

  1. Vandhana Karthick says

    TRAI should reconsider and relaxation should be done on unused simcards period from 3months to 6months. As 3months is too short as many of this younger generation in rural and urban have many of mobile numbers and usage and primary mobile number is single. Moreover TRAI already announces that Roaming charges slashed from 2013, so usage may falls once again due to this.

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