State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd has created a record by adding 6.2 lakh mobile subscribers in August, making it the highest month-on-month addition by any GSM operator ever since cellular telephony was introduced in the country.
Reliance Infocomm, a CDMA-based operator, however, still holds the record for the largest number of new subscribers in a month across all mobile segments. The company added over 10 lakh new users in July last year.
The feat takes BSNL's subscriber base to 68 lakh, making it the third-largest operator after Reliance Infocomm and Bharti Tele-Ventures, which have 87 lakh and 82 lakh subscribers, respectively.
BSNL had lost out to other operators in the last few months since it ran out of capacity. The company is now rolling out 120 lakh new cellular lines across the country and is aiming at taking the number one slot by the year-end.
All the operators put together added 16.5 lakh new users in August. Of this, Global System for Mobile (GSM) operators accounted for 14 lakh new users and CDMA-based operators added 2.5 lakh subscribers. This takes the mobile subscriber base in the country to just over 400 lakhs, just behind the fixed line user base. Massive tariff cuts in both pre-and post-paid segments announced by the mobile companies last month is expected to take the cellular user's population above the fixed line subscribers in the next few months.
Said Mr T.V. Ramachandran, Director General, the Cellular Operators Association of India, "GSM continues to hold 79 per cent of the total mobile market and the GSM additions in August represent 85 per cent of all new additions. The trend clearly is in line with international trends, where GSM continues to be the predominant choice of customers globally."
That the mobile revolution is going beyond the metros is indicated by the fact that Circle B States of Kerala, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have now overtaken the four metro cities in terms of subscriber base. While Circle B States have 94 lakh cellular users, metros account for 92 lakh. However, Delhi continues to be the single-largest market, with a subscriber base of 35 lakh. Circle A States, comprising Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, have the highest concentration of mobile users, with 118 lakh subscribers.