According to a monthly report of research agency Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), the implementation of mobile number portability (MNP) scheme and disconnection of unused numbers are responsible for decline in the telephone subscriber base in India last month.
It said that the total MNP requests at the end of June 2012 stood at 54.3 million. “We expect the number of subscribers opting for MNP to rise further in the coming months. This in turn would impact new subscriber additions,” it said, adding that new additions are more likely in the hinterlands”, CMIE said.
It however hopes despite the loss in the subscriber base the industry is expected to touch 1,042 million users by the fiscal-end. The total number of subscribes registered a fall of 20.7 million last month. According to latest figures released by TRAI last month, the telephone subscriber base fell to 944.81 million in August from 965.52 million in August.
“The total subscriber base is expected to reach 1,042 million by March 2013,” it said.
TRAI’s latest data show that market leaders like Bharti Airtel, Idea and Vodafone which control 67 per cent of the mobile market, lost significantly in August. While Airtel lost 1.9 million customers in August, Vodafone and Idea lost 1.56 million and Idea 1.65 million respectively.
According to industry body COAI, most of the loss was due to the disconnection of unused numbers.
RCom had lost 20.5 million customers in July. It has yet to announce its August figures. Tata Teleservices, which has also not reported its August numbers, had lost over 2.4 million wireless customers in the month. Uninor lost over 1 million, Videocon 0.41 million, Loop and state-run MTNL each lost around 0.15 million in July.
However, the new wireless subscribers for the fiscal are likely to decline by nearly 14 per cent, CMIE said.
“Wireless service providers are expected to add 92.7 million new subscribers this fiscal, significantly lower than the 107.6 million they added in FY12,” the agency said.
CMIE said that while the urban areas of the country are over penetrated with tele-density of 169 per cent, in rural areas it is just 40.6 per cent. Hence, these areas hold an opportunity for telecom operators to increase their subscriber base and grow their market share.
It said that for the fixed-line service providers, the agency said they would continue to witness an exodus of subscribers.