Indian Mobile Subscriber Stats Mar 2016: 7M New, 1034M Total, Airtel Crosses 250M Subscriber Mark


The growth of Indian mobile subscriber base continues unabated – According to TRAI telecom subscription report, March 2016 saw 7 million new mobile subscribers added on various telecom networks, with Bharti Airtel adding the highest! In the previous month of Feb, India witnessed 8.7 mln new subscriber additions.

The new subscribers have primarily come from rural areas where it grew by nearly 5X compared to Urban subscriber additions

India still continues to be the fastest growing mobile market in the world – It has now added over 100 million new subscribers in past 18 months alone! Here is how the base has grown over past 2 years.

Mobile Subscriber Addition March2016

Interestingly, there was no change in number of Wireline subscribers, which has been on a perpetual decline for more than a decade. It remained at 25.22 million.


Active Mobile Subscriber Base

Active subscriber base witnessed a jump of 11.24 million, which is highest registered in past 12 months. Active subscribers are the number of subscribers that have accessed their telecom network atleast once in the month. The active subscriber percentage has now grown to reach 90.60 percent. It is the highest registered till date.

Here is a chart comparing active subscriber growth with total number of subscribers.

Active Subscriber Base Mar2016

Mobile Subscriber Growth Highlights [March 2016]

– With an increase of 6.97 mln in Feb 2016, total mobile subscriber base has reached 1033.63 million. India had 1026.66 million subscribers by end of February 2016.

– Urban India witnessed a monthly growth rate of 0.21 percent or 1.23 mln subscribers, while rural mobile subscriber base increased by 1.31 percent or 5.73 mln.

– Urban India has a total of 588.79 million, while rural India has a total of 444.84 million mobile subscribers.

Rural vs Urban subscriber base MArch 2016

– Urban Teledensity increased to 148.73 from 148.65 in Jan 2016, while the rural tele-density increased to 50.88 from previous 50.26.

Urban mobile subscriber share stands at 56.96% as compared 43.04% of rural subscribers.

4.40 million new Mobile portability requests were made in month of March 2016, taking the total tally of MNP requests since launch to 209.13 mln.

– Active Mobile Subscriber base increased from 925.22 million in Feb 2016 to 936.46 million in Mar 2016, taking the active percentage to 90.12 percent.

– Delhi remained the circle with highest teledensity of 236.30, while Bihar has the lowest at 54.31. The all-India teledensity currently stands at 83.36

– Total Broadband (> 512 Kbps) subscriber increased from 144.87 Million at the end of Feb- 16 to 149.75 million at the end of Mar-16 with a monthly growth rate of 3.37%.

– Broadband Subscribers in India grew by 3.37% in March 2016. Out of 149.75 million broadband users, 132.24 million access internet through mobile devices or dongles.

Operator Wise Subscriber Additions [March 2016]

2016 has been a great year for Bharti Airtel – they have lead the chart for subscriber growth for all 3 months in 2016 taking their total tally of subscribers to 251.23 million. In the month of March, Airtel added over 2.5 million subscribers.

State owned Telecom operator BSNL is also having a great 2016 – they added 1.5 mln subscribers. For the first time in last twelve months, Idea Cellular subscriber additions dropped below 1 million. They only managed to add 446k subscribers.

On the other hand, Tata continued its negative growth losing nearly 180k subscribers.

Operator Market Share MArch 2016

Subscriber Additions by Operator in last 1 year

Bharti Airtel has come very close to reaching a quarter market share in India. They remained clear winner with 22.4 mln additions in last 1 year. Idea Cellular (13.8 mln) came in second followed by Vodafone (11.67 mln). Tata fared worst as they lost 5.74 mln users during the same time.

Yearly Mobile subscriber additions March 2016

Top 8 Mobile Operators in Numbers

Sr. No Telecom Operator Total Subscriber Count ( till March 2016)
1 Bharti Airtel 251,237,263
2 Vodafone 197,946,755
3 Idea Cellular 175,074,042
4 Reliance Communication 102,408,072
5 Aircel 87,086,612
6 BSNL 86,345,709
7 Tata 60,097,988
8 Telewings / Telenor 52,454,949

[Trai Press Release]

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