Indian telephone subscribers top 500 million

Operators are however struggling with falling revenues per subscriber

India's telephone subscribers, both fixed and wireless, topped 500 million in September, though the gains came from wireless telephony, the country's telecom regulator said on Wednesday.

India had a total of 509 million telephone subscribers at the end of September, of which 472 million were mobile subscribers, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said.

Even as mobile subscriptions have been booming, with the country adding 15 million new subscribers in September, the number of fixed-line subscribers has been steadily falling.

In September, the number of fixed-line subscribers was down to 37.31 million from 37.33 million a month earlier, according to TRAI.

About 43.5 percent of India's population now have telephones, the authority said.

The rapid increase in the number of mobile phone connections in India has been helped by the introduction of GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) service by the operators of CDMA (code-division multiple access) networks such as Reliance Communications or Tata Teleservices, a joint venture in which NTT DoCoMo has a 26 percent equity stake.

India's largest mobile services provider, Bharti Airtel, added 16.8 percent of the new subscribers in September. Tata accounted for 26.7 percent of the new additions in September, while Reliance and Vodafone accounted for another 13 percent each.

The market has also seen a fierce price war with many operators now offering tariffs starting at 0.01 Indian rupees per second (around US$0.013 per minute). Earlier tariffs were typically fixed for a minimum of one minute or multiples thereof.

Established players are trying to gain market share ahead of the entry into the market of newer players such as the Indian joint ventures of Telenor and Etisalat.

Deep price cuts and expansion into less lucrative rural markets have however resulted in slower revenue and profit growth for many operators.

Last week, Bharti Airtel reported reduced revenue and profit growth in the quarter ended Sept. 30, as call durations and average revenue per user dropped, even though the number of subscribers increased.

Reliance Communications, India's second largest operator, also reported last week that its revenue had grown by 1 percent, but profits in the quarter ended Sept. 30 fell by 33 percent from a year ago. Both Bharti Airtel and Reliance said that the wireless sector in India is undergoing a challenging phase, with increased competition.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags market researchindia

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?