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CDMA services lose market share as telcos shift focus to 4G

CDMA services in India are slowly being phased out. The three existing CDMA operators (Tata Docomo, MTS, BSNL) in the country are showing signs of a slowdown in terms of subscriber growth. Between a three-month period from September to December 2016, Tata Docomo lost 1.02 million CDMA connections, MTS lost 0.84 million connections, while BSNL lost 0.04 million connections. As per TRAI data, there were 15.07 million CDMA connections in December 2016, down 11% from September '16 when India had 16.97 million CDMA connections. On the other hand, GSM connections (including LTE) increased to 1.11 billion in December '16, up 7.7% from 1.03 billion connections in September '16. The falling number of CDMA subscribers in India is not unexpected. After the launch of Reliance Jio, a 4G only operator in 22 circles, rival telcos are increasingly focusing on 4G expansion, leading to a cut down on CDMA and 2G services. Anil Amabni-led RCOM recently shut down its profitable CDMA business, in order to focus on 4G. RCOM is also expected to merge MTS’s customers with itself in the coming months. Airtel, Idea and Vodafone are also investing money to expand their 4G networks. Share of connections by access type The wireless segment held a 97.88% market share in terms of connections with 1.12 billion connections, while the wireline segment held rest of the share with 24.4 million connections by the end of December 2016. In the Wireless segment (CDMA+ LTE + GSM), Reliance Jio added 56.18 million new subscribers between Sep-16 to…

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