Indian Mobile Subscriber Base falls by 13.6 mln to 890.6 mln


TRAI’s latest November 2012 telecom report is out and the number of Indian mobile subscribers continue to fall further, atleast in numbers. The ground reality is that the system clean-up is going on for past few months. Most of the telecom operators are now de-activating and reporting numbers which have not been used for quite past 3 months and hence the fall is being shown.

However, I am a little perplexed, because the fall in numbers should have happened for max 3 months, but subscriber de-activations are getting reported continuously since April 2012 . This leads me to believe that Telecom operators had previously reported inflated numbers. Check out the fall in subscriber growth numbers over past one and half years.


Indian Mobile Subscriber growth

Mobile Subscriber Additions November 2012

Telecom Subscription Data Highlights [November 2012]

– With fall of 13.63 Mln, November 2012 witnessed 2nd biggest fall in Mobile subscriber numbers. India had 890.6 million subscriber by end of November 2012.

– Urban India witnessed a fall of 12.91 mln subscribers, while mobile subscribers in Rural India fell by 0.72 mln.

– Rural Mobile subscriber monthly growth rate was -0.21 percent as compared to urban growth rate of –2.28 percent.

– Urban Teledensity fell to 149.32 while the rural tele-density grew to  39.78 from previous 39.67.

– Urban mobile subscriber share stands at 62.19% as compared 39.67% rural subscribers

1.99 million new Mobile portability requests were made in month of November 2012, taking the total tally of MNP requests since launch to 77.13 mln

– Active Mobile Subscriber base grew from 703.92 mln in Oct 2012 to 707.28 mln in Nov 2012 taking the active percentage to 79.42.

– 70 thousand new Broadband subscribers were added in month of Nov 2012 taking total tally to 1.49 crore.

– Delhi (226.40) has over 3 times the teledensity as compared to the National average (75.55). Lowest teledensity was registered in Assam (46.93)

– Wireline Subscriber base fell to 30.87 mln as compared to previously 30.95 million.

– India’s total telecom subscriber base (wireless+wireline) has fallen to 921.47 in Nov, compared to 935.18 mln in October 2012

Operator wise Mobile Subscriber Additions [November 2012]

november 2012 operator wise

Tata has had a very bad year – They have been continuously reporting fall in subscribers. In 2011 and 2010 they were frequently adding highest number of new subscribers and in 2012 the fall has been equally steep. In November, they witnessed fall of 4.2 million subscribers followed by Bharti (-2.8 mln) and Vodafone (-2.3 mln).

Idea, who have generally been doing quite well, as many subscribers have ported-in to their network, also witnessed a fall of 1.6 million subscribers. Reliance was the only operator who added more subscribers than what they lost, but only marginal (108k).

Operator wise Total Market Share [November 2012]

telecom market sharae Nov 2012

Because nearly all the operators lost their subscribers, the pecking order remains the same. Bharti still leads with 20.62 percent market share. Vodafone still has sizeable lead (16.93%) over Reliance (15.06%) even after the fall in subscribers.

Top 5 Operators by Mobile Subscriber Base

  1. Bharti Airtel – 183.6 mln
  2. Vodafone – 150.8 mln
  3. Reliance – 134.1 mln
  4. Idea – 114.1 mln
  5. BSNL – 99.9 mln

I really hope that we have a much better 2013 in terms of mobile subscriber growth as compared to 2012!

[Download entire TRAI report pdf]

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