Where are we moving on telecom subscriber numbers?

India’s telephone subscriber base crosses 900 million to reach 903.09 million in the month of June, 2013. The urban market share is decreasing but rural market share is increasing, this shows that the rate of growth in rural areas is more than urban areas. And this is bound to increase as we move forward.

In urban areas, the rate of growth is almost flat whereas rate of growth in rural areas is 0.81 percent per month. Urban areas contribute 545.48 million subscribers whereas rural areas contribute 357.61 million subscribers. The urban tele-density is at 145.35 whereas rural tele-density is at 41.90.

The wireless subscriber base reached 873.36 million. The share of urban wireless subscribers has decreased to 59.8 percent whereas share of rural wireless subscribers has increased to 40.2 percent. The overall wireless tele-density increased to 70.9.

New operators like MTS and Uninor need to focus on attractive tariff packages to snatch subscribers from other operators or they need to focus on rural areas to increase their subscriber base. It would be interesting to see what strategy Reliance Jio adopts on when it launches its services in FY 2013-14 to get subscribers.

PSU operators, both BSNL and MTNL, have been losing ground month after month and combined, they presently contribute around 11.74 percent market share. Both these companies need to focus on value added services in a big way if they want to grow their base or restrict churn.

In terms of network loading, Idea leads the table with 97.9 percent followed by Vodafone and Bharti Airtel. And this gives them an edge over other operators.

Wireline subscriber base has been declining and it stands at 29.73 million. In case of wireline, the share of urban subscribers has increased to 78.11 percent whereas rural subscriber base has declined to 21.89 percent. The increase in urban subscribers convey that subscribers are looking at high bandwidth applications which is presently not fulfilled by wireless technologies.

We are seeing a very slow progress on broadband front as total broadband subscriber base stands a 15.19 million at the end of June 2013, thereby showing a monthly growth of just 0.39 percent.

One thing is amply clear that broadband demand will grow in India if one can merge Internet with applications be it entertainment and education. Reliance Jio is working on this model and I believe other broadband operators will have no other option but to focus on mix of applications rather than on plain vanilla Internet service if they plan to take broadband to new heights.

One Comment

  1. Wonderful and very rich industry information is made available to the ordinary consumer and the players both. The data is presented in a jargon free manner. Congratulations. Best Wishes.

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