9.2 m new GSM users in February 2009
Mobile operators led by Bharti Airtel using the mainstay GSM technology added 9.2 million new users in February, a slight dip on the previous month, as the industry signalled continued strong growth in the months ahead, contrasting the steady stream of poor data from a raft of industry sectors. The February addition was less than the 9.7 million in January, but industry officials attributed it to the three fewer working days in the month. These numbers do not include data from Reliance Communications, an operator that uses rival CDMA technology but recently kickstarted its GSM operations. India registered 15 million new mobile customers in January, and the country may clock an average of 12-13 million new— both GSM and CDMA combined—customers every month, according to TV Ramachandran who heads the GSM industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). “The January jump was mostly on account of promotional offers. This cannot be replicated month-on-month,” he said. According to COAI, Bharti saw the biggest growth in February, adding 2.73 million customers, touching a total base of over 91 million customers. The company now commands about 33% market share in the GSM space. Vodafone Essar, whose subscriber base was up by 2.6 million in February to touch 66 million, now commands a 24% marketshare. Idea Cellular added 1.5 million customers in February, but this was about 25% lower than its January growth. State-run BSNL too increased its customer base by 1.5 million in February.