Telecom Stats: India Adds 67.3M New Mobile Subscribers in 2015, Total Reaches 1011M


After a lackluster 2012 and 2013, the mobile subscriber base additions in India have again picked up in 2014 and 2015. TRAI released their telecom subscription report for December 2015 and according to it, India ended the year with a total telecom subscriber base of 1036.41 million. Out of those 1010.89 mln were mobile subscribers, while 25.52 million were wireline subscribers.

In year 2015, India added a total of 67.37 million new subscribers, around 10 million more than in 2014. In 2013, that additions stood at 21.57 million.

Here is how mobile subscriber base has grown in India over past 2 years.

Indian mobile Subscriber additions December2015

As you can see from the chart, over 26 million subscribers were added in first 3 months of 2015 alone, after which the growth tapered down. With 1.43 million, December 2015 was the month with lowest number of additions.

As far as wireline subscribers go, they have seen a continuous fall over last 5-6 years. There has not been a single month when wireline subscribers have increased over that period.

Active Subscriber Base

The active subscriber base is also seeing a continuous improvement, and now the active subscriber percentage has reached 90.22. Out of total 1010.89 million, 912.06 million are active subscribers. In 2015, active subscribers have grown by over 2 percentage points.

TRAI has done well to weed out inactive numbers from the system. In 2012-13, the active percentage hovered between 75 to 80 percent and now it has crossed 90 percent.

Here is a graph depicting Total vs Active mobile subscriber base in India.

Total vs active subscriber December2015

Mobile Subscriber Growth Highlights [December 2015]

– With an increase of 1.43 mln in Dec 2015, total mobile subscriber base has reached 1010.89 million. India had 1003.49 million subscribers by end of October 2015.

– Urban India witnessed a monthly growth rate of 0.32 percent or 1.89 mln subscribers, while rural mobile subscriber base decreased by 0.09 percent or 0.39 mln.

– Urban India has a total of 579.67 million, while rural India has a total of 431.22 million mobile subscribers.

– Urban Teledensity decreased to 147.12 from 147.19 in Oct 15, while the rural tele-density increased to 49.43 from previous 49.11.

Urban mobile subscriber share stands at 57.34% as compared 42.66% of rural subscribers.

7.31 million new Mobile portability requests were made in month of December 2015, taking the total tally of MNP requests since launch to 194.01 mln.

– Active Mobile Subscriber base increased from 902.26 million in Oct 2015 to 912.06 million in Dec 2015, taking the active percentage to 90.22 percent.

– Delhi remained the circle with highest teledensity of 240.87, while Bihar has the lowest at 52.51. The all-India teledensity currently stands at 81.83

– Total Broadband (> 512 Kbps) subscription numbers increased from 131.49 Million at the end of Nov- 15 to 136.53 million at the end of Dec-15 with monthly growth rate of 3.83%.

– Out of 136.53 million broadband users, 119.53 million access internet through mobile devices or dongles.


Operator Wise Subscriber Additions [December 2015]

In month of December 2015, Bharti Airtel added maximum numbers with 2.510 mln new mobile subscribers coming under their fold. Vodafone added 1.65 mln, followed by Idea Cellular at 1.25 million.

Reliance has had horrible last couple of months and December 2015 remained to be one of the worst months for them. Their subscriber base decreased by whopping 5.9 million. For the first time, Reliance’s market share in India has gone below double digits at 9.98 percent.

Here is a graph that shows Operator Market share and monthly additions for December 2015

Operator Market Share December 2015

Telecom Operator additions for 2015

Market leader Bharti Airtel added maximum number of subscribers in year 2015, followed by Idea Cellular and Vodafone. Over 80 percent of new subscribers added in year 2015 were cornered by top 3 telecom operators.

Tata performed worst losing shade below 5 million subscribers. Reliance and Sistema were the other operators who had negative growth in 2015.

Operator subscriber additions 12 months December 2015

Top 8 Mobile Operators in Numbers

Sr. No Telecom Operator Total Subscriber Count ( till Oct 2015)
1 Bharti Airtel 243,289,404
2 Vodafone 193,600,085
3 Idea Cellular 170,664,203
4 Reliance Communication 100,890,431
5 Aircel 85,632,249
6 BSNL 82,507,640
7 Tata 60,727,856
8 Telewings / Telenor 50,702,396

[Trai Press Release]

1 Comment
  1. […] is currently the country with fastest mobile subscriber growth – In 2015 India added over 67 million subscribers, whereas in China mobile subscriber growth was closer to 30 […]

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