BSNL added maximum new wireless subscribers in July 2016- TRAI

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The total mobile subscriber base in the country has declined marginally to 103.42 crore at the end of July this year from 103.51 crore in June, primarily due to operators like Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices losing CDMA subscribers.


According to latest subscription data shared by TRAI, overall telecom operators lost 0.88 million mobile subscribers during the month. State run BSNL added 1.1 million new users, followed by Bharti Airtel (1.07 million) and Aircel (0.40 million users) in the month.

Though it's not the first time that telecom subscriber base in the country has seen a month-on-month decline. In the month of May, the mobile user base had shrunk 1.1 per cent, while the overall subscriber base had fallen 1.26 per cent compared to the base in April. However, the overall active wireless base has increased to 919.28 million at the end of July from 915.12 million in June.

As we reported earlier, Reliance Communications lost a whopping 3.24 million customers as a result of CDMA shutdown. While two other struggling operators Tata Teleservices and Sistema lost 6,96,325 and 2,28,626 subscribers, respectively.


State run operator, BSNL performed well this month and added more customers than market leader Bharti Airtel who was adding the most new subscribers since the last few months. BSNL added 1.17 million new customers while Airtel saw a net addition of 1.07 million new mobile customers, taking its total subscriber base to 25.68 crore.

Second largest operator, Vodafone added 3,26,248 new subscribers, taking its total base to 19.97 crore, while Idea added 2,56,170 new users taking its subscriber base to 17.64 crore at the end of July, 2016. Aircel which is awaiting approval to merge with Reliance Communications added 4,03,603 new users based on their cheaper data and voice rates. Telenor added 19,049 users, MTNL added 6,730 users in their two metro markets.

Operator wise latest subscription data details:

 Bharti Airtel

  • Added 10,71,984 new subscribers, taking the total subscriber base to 256.80 million.
  • Most of the new additions are in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Chennai-TN, UP East and West Bengal.
  • Lost subscribers in Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir circles.
  • Average VLR rate stands at 97.35 % at the end of July which is slightly higher than June, means more customers are actively using the network.
  • Data growth in 3G, 4G circles and majority of MNP requests helped Airtel to add maximum new customers.

Vodafone India

  • Second largest operator added 3,26,248 new subscribers, taking its total base to 19.97 crore.
  • It lost thousands of subscribers in seven circles resulting negative growth in UP East, UP West, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Active customer base now stands at 95.34% of total customer base.
  • Rajasthan, UP East and Orissa remain the three circles where it continues to post negative growth.

Idea Cellular

  • Idea’s user base rose to 176.49 million with the addition of 0.25 million new users.
  • Average VLR rate for the month was 104.77 percent, because of large number of in-roamers on their network in 3G circles.
  • Posted negative growth in 12 out the total 22 circles. However, it performed well in Kerala, Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh market.

Reliance Communications

  • After losing 2.65 million mobile users in June, it again lost 3.24 million customers in July and now has 95.46 million cellular customers on its network.
  • Subscriber decline due to CDMA shutdown and MNP port out requests made by CDMA customers.
  • Active customer base sees no improvement, mostly due to high data tariff and less attractive voice offers. VLR rate for the company was at 74.02 percent in July.


  • State-run BSNL had the highest net addition of 1.1 million customers, taking its total mobile user base to 90.71 million.
  • The company added majority of new subscribers in markets like Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
  • Posted negative growth only in Madhya Pradesh.
  • Active customer base remains low for the state run operator at 70.24 percent in July.


  • Aircel added 0.40 million new wireless subscribers, taking its total mobile customer base to 89.3 million.
  • The company posted positive figures in every operating circle except home market Tamil Nadu and in Andhra Pradesh.
  • However, it has close to 90 million customers, but its active customers are close to 63 – 65 million. Average VLR rate was 72.18 percent for the period.

Tata Docomo

  • Tata Docomo now has 58.67 million customers after consecutively losing customers since the last few months.
  • Active customers for the company also decreasing day by day and it currently has nearly 45 million active customers.


  • The inadequate data network is the key reason why the 'Sabse Sasta' operator is losing ground in India each month. The operator now has 53.11 million customers, out of which only 73.86 % customers are active.


  • Even before merging with Rcom it continues to post negative growth in almost all markets as CDMA technology is dying and customers are moving to 4G networks. The company posted negative growth at 3.01% and now has only 7 million customers, out of which 64 percent are active.

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