GSM subscriber base rose to over 781 million with telecom operators such as Airtel, Vodafone and Idea together adding 2.09 million subscribers in August. The all India mobile subscriber figures stood at 779 million during July, according to the data by Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). Rajan S Mathews, Director General of COAI, said the increase in the subscriber numbers indicates the continued upward swing for the telecom sector, as it continues to add more consumers every month. According to the monthly data by COAI, Airtel had the maximum mobile subscribers at 257.51 million representing nearly 33 percent of the overall GSM subscriber base in the country during August.
Airtel which along with other incumbent operators is engaged in a bitter war of words with the new entrant Reliance Jio over network connectivity issues, also accounted for the highest subscriber additions among operators in August at 0.70 million. It had added 1.07 million net new subscribers in July. The COAI numbers do not include the subscribers garnered by Reliance Jio as the data pertains to August whereas the company formally flagged off its 4G services on September 5. At 71.51 million, the Uttar Pradesh (East) circle led with the maximum mobile subscribers, while the Bihar added the highest number of subscribers for the month with 0.39 million.
While Airtel continued to maintain its lead both in terms of additions and the subscriber base in August, Vodafone ended the month with over 200 million and Idea Cellular with about 177 million subscribers. Aircel had 89.7 million users, Telenor 53.2 million, and state owned MTNL about 3.6 million subscribers at the end of August. “Among the 23 circles, Bihar has emerged as the third largest subscriber base after UP (E)and Maharashtra. Together, the three circles represent 204.91 million subscribers of the country,” COAI said.
Mathews attributed the growth in numbers to an increasing awareness among the people, affordable access and nationwide availability of services. “The industry has been witnessing incremental growth in the subscriber base. With more investments and an increased coverage, this number will continue to swell, adding even more subscribers with each passing month,” he added. ALSO READ: Airtel, Vodafone, Idea launch GSMA’s Mobile Connect in India