March saw the telecom market rebound, adding 15.64 million wireless connections and beating January’s record of 15.41 million, TRAI reports. In January, many operators launched promotional offers to woo subscribers which resulted in a sharp increase in number of additions from December’s 10.81 million. Read Nikhil’s note on the promotional offers here.
From 400.05 million total telephone (wireless, landline and WLL) connections in India in January, there are now 429.72 million connections. Teledensity is slowly crawling ahead reaching 36.98% from 35.65% in February.
There were 391.76 million wireless connections (GSM, CDMA and WLL) at the end of March 2009, up from 376.12 million in February. The momentum has carried from 346.89 million in December ’08 and 362.30 million in January.
COAI celebrates the addition of 10.8 million GSM connections in March, the highest since the launch of GSM networks in the country. This number does not include additions by Reliance.
Across the country, there are now 288.3 million GSM connections, which is up from 277.5 million in February 2009. Market share and number of connections per operator for March and April are given in this table. Reliance’s total number of connections, GSM & CDMA combined, comes to 72,666,192. The subscriber base of operators excluded from COAI’s table and sourced from TRAI’s statistics are:
HFCL – 388,285 connections
Shyam Sistema (MTS) – 599,801 connections
Tata Teleservices – 35,121,964 connections
Aircel – 18,478,325 connections
Wireline: Going Up?
After months of contracting, the wireline userbase increased – albeit in a small way with an increase of 0.23 million – from 37.73 million in February to 37.96 million wireline connections in March. This increase mirrors the corresponding month in 2008, when growth was dropping and there were 0.24 million landlines added in the country. We could attribute this rise in landlines in March 09 to the bundling of landlines with broadband connections (as in the case of Airtel) or IPTV (BSNL’s & MTNL’s offer). This does not necessarily mean that landlines are becoming more popular or are even considered necessary – they are just unavoidable.
There were 0.37 million broadband connections added in the month, bringing the total number to 6.22 million up from 5.85 million connections in February 09. Broadband is defined by TRAI as download speeds of above 256 Kbps. This year, two operators have launched high speed broadband services – Tata Indicom’s Photon+ and Reliance’s NetConnect.
Over the past year March 08-March 09, 59.48 million broadband connections have been added in India.
Orissa Grows at 7.16%; Average Metro Growth Still Low
Orissa is the fastest growing state in terms of GSM additions with 7.16% increase from 6535814 connections in February to 7003894 in March 09.
Orissa has a total of 8,687,290 wireless connections (GSM, CDMA and WLL) as of March 2009.
Bharti leads with over 3 million connections in Orissa, followed by Reliance with 2.09 million and BSNL with 1. 6 million. Aircel has 926, 304, Tata Indicom has 678,844 connections, Vodafone has 381,257 connections while Idea Cellular has rolled out its network in the state.
Orissa is categorised as a C-circle region. C-circles are clocking an average of 5.93% growth while A-circle and B-circles are growing at 3.7% and 3.85% respectively.
Average growth of GSM connections in metros is still in a slump at 2.77%, rising from 39,942,361 GSM connections in February to 41,048,317 in March. However, Kolkata is ahead of other metros with 4.19% growth as new operators such as Aircel are rolling out in the city. It has 8,089,571 connections.
– Jan-09 Stats: 362.3M Mobile Subscribers; 5.65M Broadband
– 9.18M GSM Subscribers Added in Feb ‘09; TRAI Slashes Interconnection Fees
– Feb-09 Stats: 376.1M Mobile, 5.85M Broadband Connections; Data Cards & WiMax?
– Quarterly India Telecom Data For Dec 2008: Dialup ARPU Up; 11.1M DTH Connections; 4.5L Landlines Uninstalled