The cellular subscriber base in the country has reached 8.53 million, having added over 3.59 lakh additional customers in the month of September 2002.
As per the latest estimates of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the total number of cellular subscribers in the four metros continues to be the highest at 34.90 lakh subscribers followed closely by A circle at 28.28 lakh subscribers and B Circle at 19.33 lakh subscribers. Circle C continues to be far behind at only 2.79 lakh subscribers.
According to COAI all India additions in September were "disappointingly low", representing a steep reduction of 25 per cent over the previous month mainly because of the massive disconnections of pre-paid subscribers who had not provided identity authentication by the Government deadline of September 30.
Another reason was also the disconnection of Koshika's licence in UP (East), due to which 56,000 subscribers have had to be taken out of the system.
Among the operators, Bharti continues to be the single largest mobile operator accounting for 22.93 lakh subscribers. Bharti is also the single largest operator in any one single circle, having bagged over 7.64 lakh customers in Delhi.
Hutchison is the second largest single operator accounting for 17.88 lakh subscribers. The BPL group is a close third with a total subscriber base of 10.37 lakh subscribers followed by Idea cellular with 10.15 lakh subscribers.
The top four cellular groups together have a subscriber base of 65.21 lakhs, which works out to 72 per cent of the total market. The remaining 28 per cent being shared amongst Escotel, Spice Communications, Aircel, Koshika, Reliance Telecom, MTNL and BSNL.
The public sector entities MTNL and BSNL have a total subscriber base of just around 2.46 lakh subscribers. While MTNL accounts for 2.16 lakh in both Mumbai and Delhi, BSNL, which has started its services in Kolkata, Tamil Nadu and Bihar is due to rollout its full fleged services across the country on October 19.