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May 2010: India Added Over 11.25 Million GSM Connections

Update: Uninor informs us that they’ve purged their subscriber base of those who hadn’t used the connection for 60 days. Wonder what the policy of the other telecom operators is. Their response, in full:

“In its reporting to the Government, Uninor has declared a subscriber base of 5.01 million (5012929) as of end of May. This is lower than the subscriber numbers reported for April by 8.7 thousand (8722), resulting from the purging of data pertaining to inactive SIMs from the overall subscriber count. Inactive SIMs have been defined as those where no call, SMS, data usage or recharge activity has occurred over the past 60 days.

We believe that this will add further accuracy to subscriber data that will in turn improve accuracy of our business information systems and reliability of data for all stakeholders.”


India added over 11.25 million connections in May 2010, up 2.7% for the month, according to data released by a representative body of GSM telecom operators in India – COAI. The total GSM subscriber base is 427.98 million. Their data doesn’t take into account changes in the connection base of Reliance Communications’ GSM operations, and Tata Docomo.

– Bharti Airtel had clocked the highest increase in connections – up by 3 million for the month. Airtel now has 122.6 million subscribers. 

– Vodafone added 2.59 million connections, up to 106.34 million connections. It’s the second largest GSM operator, and registered the second highest growth in terms of GSM subscribers

– Uninor was the only telecom operator to register a decline in its connection base – not a good sign for the new telecom operator in a market that is growing. Uninor’s connection base declined by 8722 to end up at 5 million.

– Etisalat DB, which has launched operations as ‘Cheers’ more than doubled its subscriber base (on a very low base) to end with 10,122 connections

– Videocon, in its first month of operation, reported 1.39 million subscribers. That was quick.

– Note that Idea Cellular, which ended the month 1.43 million connections higher, at 66.72 million, now has a larger subscriber base than BSNL.

BSNL has added 1.04 million connections in May, ending with 65.79 million; meanwhile, sister concern MTNL, which operates only in Mumbai and Delhi, added 40,297 new connections to take its base to 4.85 million.

Loop Mobile added 17,174 in Mumbai, the only circle it operates in and has 2.91 million connections in total.

Circle Wise Additions

– Tamil Nadu and UP (East) are neck and neck for the race to the circle with most connections. Tamil Nadu has the highest connection base of 34.84 million, marginally higher than UP (East) at 34.79 million connections. UP (East) added the most connection – 1.36 million, followed by Tamil Nadu at 0.95 million

– Andhra Pradesh has 32.61 million connections, the third highest number of connections

Download: GSM Data from COAI (Excel file)

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