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9.18M GSM Subscribers Added in Feb ’09; TRAI Slashes Interconnection Fees

After January’s record addition of 9.7 million GSM cellular subscribers, telecomsubscribersFebruary’s addition of 9,184,944 subscribers has come as a disappointment. The total number of GSM subscribers is now 277.1 million, up 3.43 percent from 267.9 million in January, according to COAI.

India had added 15.41 million mobile subscribers (inclusive of GSM and CDMA) in January to reach 362.30 million in January. Medianama’s report on the January mobile statistics is here.

Director General of COAI,TV Ramachandran, has explained the phenomenon in the Economic Times, “The January jump was mostly on account of promotional offers. This cannot be replicated month-on-month.”

Bharti Airtel led the operators, adding 2.73 million customers in February. Last month, CDMA player Reliance bagged the largest number of additions – a whopping 4.95 million. Reliance and Tata Indicom, another CDMA operator, are yet to reveal their subscriber additions for the month.

Nikhil adds: The promotional offers that Ramachandran is referring to, are probably the Reliance GSMs a free SIM card distribution. Some telecom operator executives told me that, on their networks, they noticed that consumers go offline for a short period of time – 5-10 days, and come back on. They think that consumers switched to Reliance GSM, utilized the free talktime, and then went back to their old operators.

Market Sharemarketshare2

Bharti Airtel‘s market share has dropped marginally to 32.88% in the GSM space with 91 million subscribers. Vodafone Essar followed closely with 2.6 million additions totalling 66 million customers and a 24% marketshare. BSNL saw an increase of 1.5 million customers.

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Idea Cellular recorded a lower growth rate, also adding 1.5 million customers in February, but was 25% lower than its January growth.

Metros Saturated?

Metros are no longer fastest growing in terms of mobile subscriber additions. They continued to record the lowest growth rate, with 2.81% in February and 2.94% in January. C class circles have taken a lead with 4.77% growth rates. Bihar has recorded a 6.41% growth, the North East 4.44% and Jammu & Kashmir 3.47%, on account of more telcos rolling out networks in these states. B circles have recorded an average of 3.51% growth with West Bengal, Haryana and U.P. East leading in additions.

TRAI Slashes Domestic Interconnection Fees; Hikes Incoming International Call Termination Charges

TRAI has amended the telecommunication interconnection usage charges regulation, announcing a 33% cut in domestic termination charges in its press release.

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Termination charges for all types of domestic calls – fixed to fixed, fixed to mobile, mobile to fixed and mobile to mobile – is now twenty paise per minute instead of 30 paise. The termination charge for incoming international calls has been raised to forty paise per minute, but the regulatory body expects service providers to pass on this benefit in the form of lower rates for outgoing international calls.

The new rates will be applicable from April 1, 2009.


COAI’s GSM Subscriber Figures For February 2009


Jan-09 Stats: 362.3M Mobile Subscribers; 5.65M Broadband
Q209: Quarterly India Broadband, Dialup & Mobile Numbers; 5.45M Broadband Subscribers

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