Mobile telephony snippets
Leading GSM operators Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar have added 2.8 million and 2.7 million subscribers in April, continuing their respective growth momentum. The second-largest mobile operator Reliance Communications added just over 2-million subscribers last month, according to data released by telecom regulator Trai .GSM operator Aircel added about 1.1 million new subscribers in April taking its total subscriber base to 19.5 million. Tata Teleservices, a CDMA operator, added about 0.6 million new users in the given month taking its subscriber base to 35.7 million. Idea Cellular and Spice Communications together added a notch over 1-million subscribers in April. State-owned telco MTNL added 47,045 new subscribers in April. RCOM, the country’s largest telecom operator on CDMA technology platform, had launched GSM-based services in January with schemes providing free talk time up to Rs 900 and this resulted in its subscriber numbers surging between January-March. The free scheme was taken away by March-end,which resulted in subscriber additions falling in April. RCOM had outperformed the industry in these three months, it added 5-million new users in January and over 3-million new subscribers in February and March. In comparison, the largest mobile operator, Bharti, added 2.7 million new users each in January and February 2009 and 2.8 million in March. RCOM now has a mobile subscriber base of 74.8 million and Vodafone Essar’s total subscriber base stands at 71.5 million, while Bharti Airtel leads with 96.7 million total subscribers. Vodafone Essar also saw a drop of about 0.07 million users in its monthly additions in April and the telco added just over 2.7-million subscribers as against 2.84 million in March. With this, Bharti Airtel regained the number one position in terms of subscriber additions by a few thousand users as it increased its customer base by 2.8-million users in April. In March 2009, Vodafone Essar had beaten Bharti Airtel in monthly subscriber additions for the first time. Trai also said that India’s mobile base had crossed the 400-million mark in April, inching close to the target of 500-million users by 2010, set by the Department of Telecom (DoT). The total wireless subscriber base now stands at 403.66 million, while the total telecom base, which includes that of landline is 441.47 million, Trai added. But, the number of new mobile connections added in April saw a 23% drop compared with 15.64 million new additions in the previous month.