Wireless Subscribers In India


The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India released a comprehensive report yesterday on the growth of Indian telecommunication Industry for Quarter ending March 2009.


We are publishing a 3 part series that will highlight the performance of Indian Telecom sector.

          1. India Telecom Report: Broadband & Internet
          2. India Telecom Report: Wireline Subscribers
          3. India Telecom Report: Wireless Subscribers

This is the 3rd and concluding post in our India Telecom Report series that looks at details of Wireless (GSM + CDMA Mobile) subscribers in India. Unlike Wireline Subscribers, these numbers have been exploding quarter on quarter.

TRAI had earlier announced that India will cross the 500 million Telecom subscriber mark by mid next year (2010), but there is a very strong chance that it will happen by end of this year itself. Thanks to mobile telephony growth.

Following Charts and Graphs will showcase the explosion of Indian Wireless Subscriber growth in more detail.

Indian Telecom(Wireline+ Wireless) Snapshot


Indian Wireless Subscriber Snapshot


Compared to a near negative growth of Wireline phones, Wireless are growing at close to 13% quarter on quarter and it is astonishing that this growth comes when monthly India is adding at an average of 10 million mobile subscribers.

Indian Mobile Subscriber Growth

Indian Mobile User Growth

Indian Mobile User base growth

In 5 years, India has gone from 33 million mobile subscribers to close to 400 million !

The Mobile subscribers have reached 391.76 million as on 31st
March 2009 as against 346.89 million subscribers
in the previous
quarter. During this quarter 44.87 million wireless subscribers were

Market Share of GSM VS CDMA

India GSM VS CDMA Market Share

There were 297.26 million GSM Mobile subscribers (75.88%) compared to 94.50 million CDMA subscribers (24.12%) at the end of March 2009.

GSM Subscriber Growth

GSM Subscriber Growth 

The GSM Mobile subscriber base reached 297.26 million in the quarter
ending March 2009 as against 258.23 million
at the end of the previous

CDMA Subscriber Growth

CDMA Subscriber Growth

The CDMA Mobile subscriber base reached 94.50 million in the quarter
ending March 2009 as against 88.66 million
at the end of the previous

GSM Mobile Subscribers – Average Revenue per user (ARPU) and Minutes of Usage (MoU)


  • The all India blended ARPU per month has shown a decline of 6.5% from Rs. 220/- in December 2008 to Rs. 205/- in March 2009.
  • ARPU for post-paid service has shown a decline of 2.8% from Rs. 559/-in December 2008 to Rs. 543/- in March 2009.
  • Prepaid service has also shown a decline of 6% from Rs. 192/- in December 2008 to Rs. 181/- in March 2009.
  • MOU per subscriber continue to show a declining trend. It has declined by 2.43% from 496 in December 2008 to 484 in March 2009. The outgoing MOUs declined by 2.39% and incoming by 2.47%.
  • Postpaid segment alone has shown a decline of 2.34% in MOUs per subscriber. Decline for prepaid segment has been 1.41%.
  • The overall ratio of incoming-outgoing MOUs has been 51:49 – same as previous quarter.
  • Outgoing SMS per subscriber continued to show increasing trend from 29 in December 2008 to 30 in March 2009.

Key Indicators of GSMGSm Key Indicator variation over last quarter 

While The ARPU’s and MOUs are decreasing across the board, Indian Mobile users are using SMS more than earlier.

One of the reason why ARPU’s and MoU’s are coming down is because, all Mobile service providers are aggressively looking at rural market, which is volume low margin business !

GSM traffic Distribution

GSM Traffic Distribution

CDMA Mobile Subscribers – Average Revenue per user (ARPU) and Minutes of Usage (MoU)

  • Blended ARPU (per month) for the quarter ending March 2009 is Rs.99/- as compared to Rs. 111/– for the quarter ending December 2008.
  • The Total MOU per subscriber per month has shown decrease from 371 minutes for the quarter ending December 2008 to 357 minutes for the quarter ending March 2009.

CDMA Key Indicators

If you compare with ARPU for GSM, it is less than half. While GSM has ARPU of 205, CDMA has an ARPU of 99 !

CDMA Key Indicator Variation

The fall is even worst when it comes to ARPU and MOU numbers. CDMA seems to be going out of favour with Mobile subscribers in India

That concludes our 3 and final post of the India telecom Report.

  1. […] India Telecom Report: Wireless Subscribers […]

  2. […] just cant stop it, can you? The number of Mobile subscribers are growing at blistering pace. The July numbers released by TRAI suggests that 14.38 million Wireless phones subscribers have […]

  3. Vinay Bhatia says

    I would really appreciate if you could provide with data showing the growth of wireless area networks(WLANS) in the country and globally.
    Vinay Bhatia
    Asst. Professor,ECE
    IEET, Baddi.

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