Bharti Airtel, India’s leading carrier has added 2.33 million subscribers in the month of October, taking its overall base to 262.67 million in the country, this is the highest addition of subscribers among operators whose data was reported by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) on Tuesday. Interestingly the report does not contain the subscription data of Reliance Jio who is also a member of COAI and in all likelihood has added more subscribers in October than Airtel.
The combined GSM subscriber base grew upward even though Jio was offering free benefits under preview offer. Total subscriber base of these six operators grew by 5.55 million in October with a total user-base reaching 791.62 million users.
Telecom major Bharti Airtel led the growth by adding 0.90% more new subscribers than September taking its total mobile customer base to 262.67 million, representing nearly 33.13 percent of the overall GSM subscriber base in the country during October.
Aditya Birla owned telecom operator Idea Cellular added over 1.44 million new subscribers mostly in their strong circles taking its overall base to 180.25 million. With this the company now has 22.77 percent of the GSM market share.
Second largest operator Vodafone India, added 1.18 million subscribers mostly in low tele density circles like West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh East and West. The company now has 201.90 million subscribers in the country and we expect it to further grow once they complete 4G and 3G roll out in more circles.
Smaller operators are badly hit by Jio as they continue to lose subscribers in most circles. Aircel which is expected to re-brand after RCom completes merger process, has added only 0.2 million customers. The company lost their subscribers in 5 circles including home circle of Tamil Nadu. While Telenor India managed to attract 0.41 million new subscribers, thanks to their unlimited night and low cost offerings which they had launched few weeks ago after seeing rising churn rate in September.
Uttar Pradesh (East) remained the largest telecom circle with 72.46 million GSM subscribers while Andhra Pradesh added the highest number of subscribers for the month with 0.77 million new subscriptions. Bihar, UP East, Jammu and Kashmir were the other circles where these operators added the most new customers.
The data released by COAI does not include subscription data of state-run public sector unit BSNL. Other GSM players, Tata Teleservices, Reliance Communications and Quadrant (Videocon Punjab), also do not share their subscriber numbers with COAI as they are not its members.