Monthly Mobile Subscriber Additions drop drastically to 6.67 mln in July [TRAI report]


So the trend continues – This is 5th straight month when Mobile subscriptions have fallen – and pretty sharp fall at that. I have covering mobile subscriber addition data since 2007, and this must be probably lowest that I have witnessed.

According to the latest report released by TRAI – India added mere 6.67 million mobile subscribers in the month of July 2011 taking total tally to 858.57 million . I am having hard time believing that in mere 4 months, India’s mobile subscriber growth has dropped to a third. In March over 20 million subscribers were added and just 4 month later only 6.67 million ?

And if you are thinking it is because mobile tariffs have increased, it is wrong, as it did not happen till August when Airtel announced increase in the call rates by around 20 percent!


Monthly Mobile Subscription Fall

MObile Subscription additions

Indian Telecom Subscriber Data for July 2011


  • India now has 858 million mobile subscribers at end of July 2011.
  • India’s overall Tele-density has reached to 74.44 % at the end of July 2011 as compared to 73.97 in the June.
  • The overall Urban tele-density has increased from 163.13 to 163.83 and Rural tele-density increased from 35.60 to 35.93.
  • The overall Mobile Tele density in India reaches 71.59.

Telecom Operator wise Mobile Subscriber Additions [July 2011]


Tata’s Drastic Subscriber Fall

I am not sure but seems like Tata is loosing mobile subscribers in chunks. In May 11, Tata managed a 2.93% additions, in June 11, just 1.91% and this month they in fact lost subscribers.

According to TRAI data, in June, Tata had 90.99 Million subscribers which fell to 88.31 Million in July 2011 – A loss of 2.68 million subscribers, which is really huge!

I am really not sure what to make of this – It is not possible that subscribers are suddenly running away from Tata. Its not that their service has suddenly gone bad or something. It most probably is some accounting error (or a previous error which they are trying to fix). And yes, MNP is not the reason – I am sure of that…

Mobile Number Portability Numbers

As of July 2011, about 15.55 million subscribers have requested to different service providers for porting their mobile numbers. An increase of over 5 million MNP request over previous month (10.57 mln were made by end of June11)

MNP requests

One of the reasons for fall in subscribers may also be due to MNP requests. Previously, mobile subscribers could not move to new operator without changing the number so they had to take a new connection – but with introduction of MNP, most subscribers will just keep their numbers – So they will not be showing up new subscriber addition list.

Even then, that could be reason only for fraction of new subscribers, but such a huge fall does have some other reasons as well.

What is more perplexing for me though is fall in Tata’s connections – that is incomprehensible. Let us know if you are aware of the reasons behind it!

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  3. liju philip says

    I think we have more or less reached the limit of mobile growth (express mode). Now it will be consolidation and probably this is when the actual data plans start to sell.

    In short, the mobile market in India has started to mature.

    1. Arun Prabhudesai says

      Me thinks the same too…

  4. Altaf Rahman says

    Though I am not a techie, Let me explain in my own way!!

    If you are constructing your own house, initially the construction activity is slow. Then it picks up speed during walls and roof works. Then it stagnates during finishing and after all the water, drainage, telephone, electricity connections are done, the activity stops. It does not mean there will be no more construction any more. There will be small reworks, repairs, etc which continue as long as the house stands on its plot.

    But if you look from the point of view of the builder, he does not like the construction activity going down. But he can not do anything. There comes a time when he finish his work and move out.

    If you look at the point of an onlooker, the intensity of construction activity represents growth, stagnation, demise.

    Similarly when the mobile revolution started, initially the growth was little as the players were few. Also the slabs were high so few people bought mobiles. Slowly as the players increased and the slabs started coming down, many people started buying mobiles. Also the growth of economy put spare money in people’s pockets which added to the growth of mobile market. Now the market is reaching its saturation point (Almost 1 mobile per person mark). After some time when everybody has a mobile, the only market is for replacement. Also the players will shift to other businesses like other gadgets (just like your builder will move to other owners who want build his house)
    For Arun, the view matches with that of the onlooker :)
    He is seeing the birth, growth and stagnation phases of mobile market :)
    The signs are there to see. Now the players stopped giving freebies and started increasing rates for services. That indicates no room for growth in purely SIM Cards.
    Once this new thing called iphone, galaxytab and many others get hold of people, then may be the players will have a new market for next generation SIMs which support 3G, 4G services. May be you dont physically need two or three SIMS in future in a single mobile. A single SIM come with an option for feeding two or three numbers in same SIM.

    Just my two paisa :)

    1. Arun Prabhudesai says

      Good thoughtful comment Altaf. But do you want to put more light on this Tata’s subscriber drop thing. Although overall growth slowing down is ok – what is that sudden fall in Tata’s subscribers…that is really strange..

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