Update: Bharti Airtel has shared VLR data taking into account a 72 hour period, Senjam Raj Sekhar, Head (Group Corporate Communications) at Bharti Enterprises informs MediaNama. Tata Telservices, as CIOL reported yesterday, says it used VLR data taking a peak period of 7 days, reports CIOL. Our take on this: it is bizarre that the TRAI should ask telecom operators to share VLR data without defining a time period. This also puts a question mark on JS Sarma and the TRAI’s contention (as we’ve reported below) that the data is only as on September 30th 2010. Like we’ve explained, this system can be gamed.

December 6th 2010: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India appears to be in the mood to clear some of the confusion that has existed around the reporting of subscriber information in the country: it has published, for the month ending September 30th 2010, the Visitor Location Register (VLR) numbers provided to it by telecom operators. VLR numbers are an indicator of the active connections at the time.

Now keep in mind that the following Active user information is for the last day of the month i.e, 30th September 2010. This means, that any user whose phone was inactive that day, or was using that SIM for the entire day, will be shown as an active subscriber for the telecom operator. All but three Telecom operators – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and the Idea Cellular-Spice combination has active subscribers above the national average. Everyone else, we’ve marked in red:

While Airtel and Idea have issued a joint press release highlighting that both had more than 88% active subscribers on that day, this should not be seen in the context of the timing (the last day of the month), and a multi SIM environment. Imagine if a telco announced an 80% discount on all services on the last day of the month – all the multi-SIM users would switch to that telco for the day, and the information would be skewed in its favor.

TRAI should normalize this VLE data over the month, and report the number of active connections, not subscribers. Still, we recommend that you that consider the data for “All Telco’s”, rather than the split between operators.

GSM And CDMA Split

As a consequence of these disclosures, we also have detailed information on the GSM-CDMA split for Tata Teleservices and to some extent, of RCOM. If we assume that RTL is entirely GSM, then the company’s GSM connection base is higher than its CDMA base:

It’s worth noting that both RCOM and Tata Teleservices have signed up a fairly substantial number of GSM connections (free SIM+talktime often helps), and in case of TTL, its GSM (Tata Docomo + Virgin Mobile GSM) base is almost the same as CDMA. The active base, though is alarmingly low.

Mobile Leaderboard

For September 2010:

Telco with max additions (Incumbents):BSNL;2,284,627
Telco with lowest additions (Incumbents): MTNL; 28,216(2 circles)
Telco with max additions (New Telcos): Uninor; 2,173,698 (ED: do keep in mind the active user base above)
Telco with lowest additions (New Telcos): Etisalat+Allianz; 12,874

Among the metro cities, Delhi with a 2.28% change (746,040 connections) in total wireless connection base, added the maximum number of wireless connections for the month of September. Mumbai added 810,800 a 2.66% change.

– Yet again, 7 circles added over 1 million connections:Andhra Pradesh,Bihar,Gujarat,Maharashtra,Tamil Nadu,Up East, UP West. TRAI should also release circle-wise information, for active VLR’s.
– Tamil Nadu has the most connections, with 62,216,471 connections. UP (East) second with 53,290,520 and Andhra Pradesh is third, with 52,736,516 connections.
– Bharti Airtel holds the maximum percentage market share of wireless connections at 20.84%, Reliance 17.06%, Vodafone 16.80%.

– Companies like HFCL and Etisalat hold a mere 0.15% and 0.01% of the market share respectively.

Download TRAI Data for September 2010

*- New Telcos: Datacom/Videocon, Loop Telecom, MTS/Sistema, Swan Telecom/Etisalat, S Tel, Uninor

Related:
August 2010: India Crosses 10M Broadband Mark; Has 670M Mobile Connections