The number of mobile subscribers in India is inching close to touching a billion, according to a report by telecom industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). In its monthly report for February, COAI said that the total number of mobile subscribers in the country was 999.33 million. Of these, 10.8 million were added in February.

Notably, data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) stated that total mobile subscribers in India tallied up to 1.167 million in December 2017, meaning it crossed 1-billion mark. Airtel, Idea, Reliance Jio and Vodafone accounted for 83% of total active mobile connections in India.

The COAI report found that Airtel leads the market in terms of mobile subscriber base, with 295.79 million users. Idea grew by the highest number, adding the most (4.42 million) subscribers in the month of February. Airtel added the second highest number of subscribers that month.

Even as the country is nearing a billion-strong subscriber base, the TRAI hopes to increase wireless broadband service, reaching 90% population by 2022. As of 2017, however, nearly 49.5% of India’s population is still unconnected, as per Broadband Commission report.

The numbers in the graph are in line with Aircel’s inability to provide services in many circles due to financial trouble. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had ordered the telco to provide port out codes to all its subscribers so they can transfer to another network. The company also filed for bankruptcy in February. Telenor’s decline also follows the approval of its merger with Airtel. Notably, the graph does not provide subscriber details of Reliance Communications, which is receding its mobile services, and government-run operator BSNL.

The report used data available with the TRAI and Aircel figures were as of January 2018 as it did not report February data. Jio and MTNL figures were from December 2017.

Some more numbers from the COAI report:

  • Uttar Pradesh (East) circle has the highest number of subscribers at 86.74 million
  • This was followed by Maharashtra with a total of 81.93 million subscribers
  • Most number of subscribers were added in the Tamil Nadu circle in February, 1.84 million
  • Bihar circle grow the second-most, adding 1.38 million subscribers