Indian Mobile Subscriber Stats: 960M Total, 852M Active, MNP Requests Cross 150M [Feb 15]


TRAI released their monthly Telecom subscription report for the month of February 2015, and according to it, total Mobile Number Portability (MNP) requests have crossed 150 million mark. The total mobile subscriber base has reached 960.58 million and if we continue the growth rate of last few months India should touch the 1 Billion subscriber mark in next 6 months. One thing is certain – by end of 2015, India should have definitely crossed 1 Billion mobile subscriber mark.

Another thing that has become clear over past few months is that rural mobile subscriber base is growing twice as faster compared to urban subscriber base.

Let us look at February 2015 mobile subscription growth in more detail. BSNL has continued their bad run for six month in a row. They lost over 2.5 million subscribers, nearly double of what they did in January 2015. In last 12 months BSNL has lost over 17 million subscribers (See chart no. 4). On the other hand Idea, Bharti and Vodafone are doing extremely well, accounting for over 85 percent of all new subscriber added.

Here is growth of Indian Mobile subscribers over past 18 months.

Mobile Subscribers Growth Feb 2015


Active Mobile Subscriber Base

Active mobile subscribers have seen significant rise over past few months. Now nearly 9 out 10 mobile numbers are active. The same percentage 2 years back stood at nearly 7 in 10. The various steps taken by TRAI over the years to weed out inactive numbers from the system has proved effective and results are there to see.

In February 2015, close 852 million subscribers were active out of total 960.58 million. The active subscriber percentage currently stands at 88.69, highest ever in the history.

Here is the chart showing Total Vs Active subscriber base.

Total vs active subscriber base Feb2015

Mobile Subscriber Growth Highlights [Feb 2015]

– With an increase of 8.24 mln in Feb 2015, total mobile subscriber base has reached to  960.58 million. India had 952.34 million subscribers by end of Jan 2015.

– Urban India witnessed a monthly increase of 0.69 percent or 3.82 mln subscribers, while rural mobile subscriber base increased by 1.11 percent or 4.42 mln.

– Urban India has a total of 557.27 million, while rural India has a total of 403.31 million mobile subscribers.


– Urban Teledensity increased to 143.71 from 142.96 in Jan 15, while the rural tele-density increased to 46.56 from previous 46.08.

Urban mobile subscriber share stands at 58.01% as compared 41.99% of rural subscribers.

– 3.47 million new Mobile portability requests were made in month of Feb 2015, taking the total tally of MNP requests since launch to 150.01mln.

– Active Mobile Subscriber base increased from 842.39 mln in Jan 14 to 851.96 mln in Feb 2015, taking the active percentage to 88.69 percent.

–  Total Broadband (> 512 Kbps) subscription numbers increased from 94.49 Million at the end of Jan-15 to 97.37 million at the end of Feb-15 with monthly growth rate of 3.05%.


Operator Wise Subscriber Additions [Feb 2015]

The top 2 operators Bharti Airtel, Idea and Vodafone are doing exceedingly well accounting for close to 90 percent of all subscriptions added in Feb 2015. Infact, this has been the trend over past few months. Currently these Top 3 operators account for nearly 60 percent of the total mobile subscriber market. While the other 7 providers account for just above 40 percent.

BSNL has performed worst in Feb, losing over 2.5m subscribers, while market leader Bharti Airtel had an exceedingly good month adding over 3 million subscribers. Airtel currently dictates 23.23 percent market share followed by Vodafone (18.99%) and Idea (16.18%)

Operator Market Share vs Subscriber additions Feb2015

Over a period of last 12 months, Idea Cellular has performed the best with addition of over 21.4 million subscribers followed by Vodafone and Airtel. On the other hand, BSNL has lost over 17 million subscribers during that time.

Sistema is the only another operator who has registered negative growth along with BSNL.

Subscriber addition ove last 12 months

Top 8 Mobile Operators in Numbers

# Operator Total Subscriber Count (till Dec 2014)
1 Bharti Airtel 223,119,715
2 Vodafone 182,444,352
3 Idea 155,453,386
4 Reliance 107,857,326
5 BSNL 77,594,176
6 Aircel 80,531,634
7  Tata 66,524,991
8 Telewings / Uninor 45,154,132

[Trai Feb Report]

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