Indian Mobile Subscribers Witness Decline For First Time in 2 Years [May 2016 Stats]


For the first time in more than two years, Indian mobile subscribers have seen a decline according to the report released by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. The decline comes mainly due to closure of Videocon mobile services in month of May, whose 5+ million subscribers went off the network.

Interestingly, BSNL has picked up pace since past 3-4 months and even in May they added more subscribers than any other telecom operator except Airtel & Idea. Last month BSNL had notched the top position in new subscriber additions.

In May, a fall of 1.1 million subscribers was witnessed taking the total tally to 1033.16 million.

Here is a chart that shows subscriber additions over past 2 years.

Indian Mobile Subscriptions May 2016

Subscriber growth in April and May have sluggish essentially due to Video mobile subscribers going off the network.


Active Mobile Subscriber Base

Active subscriber base declined in equal measure falling from 934.08 million to 932.51 – The active subscriber base now stands at 90.26. March 2016 witnessed highest amount of Active subscribers when the percentage stood at 90.60 percent.

Here is how active subscriber base has grown over past 2 years.

Total Vs Active Subscriber base May 2016

Mobile Subscriber Growth Highlights [May 2016]

– With a decrease of 1.1 mln in May 2016, total mobile subscriber base has reached 1033.16 million. India had 1034.25 million subscribers by end of April 2016.

– Urban India witnessed a monthly growth rate of –0.37 percent or loss of 2.16 mln subscribers, while rural mobile subscriber base increased by 0.24 percent or 1.06 mln.

– Urban India has a total of 584.25 million, while rural India has a total of 448.90 million mobile subscribers.

– Rural India has added 31.05 mln subscribers in last one year, while Urban India has added 21.30 mln

Rural Vs Urban Subscriber Growth May 2016

– Urban Teledensity decreased to 147.12 from 147.90 in Apr 2016, while the rural tele-density increased to 51.27 from previous 51.19.

Urban mobile subscriber share stands at 56.55% as compared 43.45% of rural subscribers.

5.23 million new Mobile portability requests were made in month of May 2016, taking the total tally of MNP requests since launch to 219.27 mln.

– Active Mobile Subscriber base decreased from 936.46 million in March 2016 to 934.08 million in April 2016, taking the active percentage to 90.31 percent.

– Delhi remained the circle with highest teledensity of 235.39, while Bihar has the lowest at 55.09. The all-India teledensity currently stands at 83.14

– Total Broadband (> 512 Kbps) subscribers increased from 151.09 Million at the end of Apr- 16 to 159.76 million at the end of May-16 with a monthly growth rate of 5.74%.

– Out of 159.76 million broadband users in India, 142.06 million access internet through mobile devices or dongles.

Operator Wise Subscriber Additions [May 2016]

BSNL continued its impressive run this year adding 3rd highest number of subscribers (754k). Bharti Airtel topped the charts adding over 2.1 million subscribers followed by Idea Cellular (859k).

Videocon shuttered their services in May, which meant over 5.1 million subscribers went off the network. Reliance also fared quite badly losing over 1.1 million subscribers.

Here is a chart that shows operator market share vs monthly additions by Indian Mobile Operators.

Operator market Share May 2016

Subscriber Additions by Operator in 2016

Bharti Airtel has consolidated their lead further  adding close to double the number of subscribers (11 mln) compared to second placed BSNL who have added around 5.7 million subscribers. Tata and Sistema both have lesser number of subscribers than what they had in December 2015.

Subscriber additions in 1 year May 2016

Top 8 Mobile Operators in Numbers

Sr. No Telecom Operator Total Subscriber Count ( till May 2016)
1 Bharti Airtel 254,334,253
2 Vodafone 198,681,946
3 Idea Cellular 175,545,009
4 Reliance Communication 101,360,066
5 Aircel 88,261,226
6 BSNL 88,238,939
7 Tata 59,509,454
8 Telewings / Telenor 53,058,712

[Trai Press Release]

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