The wireless subscriber base for the country has reached 33.28 million as on March 31 this year. Around 2.09 million subscribers were added during March. Out of the total subscriber base, while GSM-based subscribers numbered 26.13 million, CDMA-based subscribers stood at 7.15 million. Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) are two competing technology standards for provision of wireless services.
As for the net wireless subscriber additions during the month, GSM-based operators added 1.5 million subscribers while CDMA-based private operators added 0.58 million subscribers. This is as per the subscriber data released by Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and Association of Basic Telecom Operators (ABTO).
The GSM-based operators achieved a 106 per cent growth during the financial year 2003-04 as compared to 97 per cent growth during the previous year. The CDMA-based operators have notched up this base from almost ground level during the last year.
Now a look at the top players in both the segments. In the GSM segment, Bharti leads with 6.5 million subscribers, followed by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) with 5.22 million subscribers and Hutch with 5.14 million subscribers. While Idea Cellular has 2.73 million subscribers (this excludes 0.98 million Escotel subscribers which was recently taken over by Idea Cellular), BPL has 1.88 million subscribers.
In the CDMA segment, meanwhile, Reliance Info leads with 6.47 million subscribers followed by Tata Teleservices with 0.62 million. These numbers exclude the fixed wireless phone or wireless in local loop-fixed (WLL-F) segment subscribers of both these operators. In the fixed wireless segment, Tata Teleservices leads with 0.63 million subscribers while Reliance has 0.50 million subscribers at Ma