India’s mobile phone market reaches an important milestone of 1 billion subscribers

The mobile subscriber base in India has crossed a billion mark for the first time, and reached 1003.49 million subscribers. India is second only to China to cross this major milestone in world of mobile phones. However, number of active wireless subscribers was marked to be 902.26 million at end of October 2015.
In the month of October, a total of 6.83 million mobile subscribers were added by the telcos. Out of the 1003.19 million mobile subscribers, 578.11 million were urban subscribers, while 425.38 million were rural subscribers. Wireline subscriber base continued to decline, and dropped to 25.85 million. During the month of October, 2015, 5.11 million subscribers submitted their requests for Mobile Number Portability (MNP).

Operator-wise subscriber base (in millions)

  1. Airtel – 237.97
  2. Vodafone – 189.47
  3. Idea – 167.28
  4. Reliance Communications – 111.41
  5. Aircel – 84.60
  6. BSNL – 80.42
  7. TATA – 60.84
  8. Telenor – 48.71
  9. MTS – 8.26
  10. Videocon – 7.84
  11. MTNL – 3.60

During the month of October 2015, Bharti Airtel added the maximum number of new subscribers (2.76 million) followed by Vodafone (adding 1.3 million), and Reliance Communication (adding 1 million). Both, BSNL and Idea, added 0.72 million, while Telenor added 0.93 million subscribers in the October of 2015. On the contrary, Tata lost over 1.17 million subscribers during the month.

The overall tele-density in India increased from 80.98 at the end of Sep-15 to 81.44 at the end of Oct-15. While urban tele-density marginally declined from 152.76 at the end of September 2015 to 152.58 by the end of October 2015. The rural tele-density increased from 48.66 at the end of September 2015 to 49.37 by the end of October 2015.

The broadband subscriber base increased from 120.88 million at the end of September 2015 to 125.22 million at the end of October 2015. Out of these 125.22 million broadband subscribers, 108.48 million were wireless broadband users. Bharti Airtel (29.03 million), Vodafone (24.48 million), Idea Cellular(20.28 million), BSNL (19.43 million) and Reliance communications Group (11.47 million) were the top five broadband service providers in the country.

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5 Comments on "India’s mobile phone market reaches an important milestone of 1 billion subscribers"


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January 6, 2016 6:26 pm 6:26 PM

Why the H are the figures in imperial units all the time here? This is India, not the US! Can use Crore/Lacs and indicate imperial units in brackets!

January 6, 2016 6:19 pm 6:19 PM

BSNL is n 6th spot not bad

January 6, 2016 6:27 pm 6:27 PM


Krishnamurthy S
January 6, 2016 6:05 pm 6:05 PM

Looking at the figures above and assuming that RCom-Aircel-MTS deal comes through they will have a combined strength of 204.27 M customers (111.41+84.6+8.26) and surely a larger infrastructure to grow stronger from there in this stiff competition.

Surely, this merger (if it comes through) will be a real deal breaker and an eye opener for the industry saddled with huge debts.

Tenji John
January 6, 2016 11:54 pm 11:54 PM
If Reliance+Aircel+MTS merge, they plan to bring down the debts to 10000Cr out of 25000cr. Aircel would sell their 4G spectrum probably to Vodafone, Airtel or Telenor. Reliance would reduce their debts out of the tower business which they are going to sell and looking for buyers. After the merger, the only states where these 3 entities would have neither 3G or 4G are Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra. Else it is a cracker of a deal as Aircel s assets which are unused in Kerala, AP, MP and Gujarat can be restarted again under Reliance. Reliance was having a tough time… Read more »