Broadband – Decelerating?

India may have again added 200,000 broadband connections (as it did in January) but the growth has reduced compared to last year. Between January 1st and February 28th, 2008, the broadband connection grew by 10.86% but this year, we only registered 7.33% growth. This could partly be ascribed to lowered budgets in difficult economic times. Things may yet turn around with broadband players launching new, faster broadband packages – such as RCOM’s NetConnect Plus and Tata Indicom’s Photon Plus.

Mobile: New Connections Or New Subscribers?

The total wireless subscriber base, including WLL, GSM and CDMA users, in India is now 376.12 million, according to the latest monthly report by TRAI. India added 13.44 million wireless connections during the month, down from the 15.41 million connections that were added in January. Do remember that these are the number of connections added, and not number of subscribers. There may be a significant case of existing mobile subscribers taking additional connections – from what our telecom operator sources are telling us, subscribers are taking a free Reliance GSM connection, and retaining their original number ase well.

Bharti Airtel – 91.11 million
Reliance – 69.64 million
Vodafone – 65.92 million
BSNL – 49.24 million
Idea Cellular – 37.47 million and Spice – 4.05 million
Tata Teleservices – 33.86 million

The total number of telephone connections reaches 413.85 million at the end of
February 2009 as compared to 400.05 million in January 2009. Teledensity is now at 35.65.

Wireline: Still Going Down

The landline subscriber base is steadily reducing – there are now 37.73 million landline users compared to 37.75 million subscribers in January, primarily due to BSNL’s thumping loss of 61,586 users in a month.

Bharti Airtel added 25,195 wireline users while Reliance added some 8000 and HFCL added 1,633 users this month. Sistema Shyam continued to lose subscribers – 1,458 users this month, and the PSU MTNL with 9,195 users. Tata Teleservices is inching towards the 1 million mark with 905,942 subscribers.

Data Cards & WiMAX?

Telecom operators like Reliance Communications and Tata Indicom have deployed fixed WiMAX solutions – from what we are told, Indicom is moving its broadband subscriber base to fixed WiMAX, wherein the delivery to the building is via wireless, and the connection to the PC is wired; it’s similar to the way a DTH connection is set up. So would these users be counted as WiMAX users, or broadband?

Secondly, what about Data Card users? With both Reliance and Tata Indicom launching EVDO/EVDV services that offer wireless connectivity of upto 3.1 Mbps, shouldn’t this user base also be added to the broadband user base from now on? Or better still, the TRAI should create a separate category for Wireless broadband.


Jan-09 Stats: 362.3M Mobile Subscribers; 5.65M Broadband
9.18M GSM Subscribers Added in Feb ‘09; TRAI Slashes Interconnection Fees