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The country's GSM-based cellular service providers have reported the highest ever subscriber additions at 10.8mn (excluding the GSM subscribers of Reliance Communications) during March, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said on Monday. With this, the cumulative All India GSM subscriber base has now grown to 288.3mn in March (excluding GSM subscribers of RCOM), up from 277.5mn in February.

We are delighted to report the highest ever GSM subscriber additions at 10.8 million (excluding the GSM users of Reliance) during March 2009. This is the highest ever subscriber additions since the inception of GSM service in India," COAI Director General T V Ramachandran said in a statement.

Among the companies, Vodafone Essar added 2.84mn new users in March, taking its total base to 68.76mn while market leader Bharti Airtel saw its total base rise by 2.8mn to 93.92mn.  Idea Cellular added 1.5mn new customers, boosting its subscriber base to 43.02mn, while Aircel - which launched its Mumbai operations last week - increased its base by over 1mn to 18.47mn.

State-run BSNL added 2.5mn new customers, taking its reach to 46.68mn.For BSNL, capacity has been the main problem and the March figures show that the recent equipment orders and installation have helped it create more capacity.

Aircel's user base in March stood at about 1.84 crore with an addition of about 10 lakh new connections, followed by Reliance's base of 1.11 crore subscribers.

MTNL's GSM subscriber base in Delhi and Mumbai touched 41.76 lakh, while BPL has 21.64 lakh subscribers.

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