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Uninor tops GSM subscriber addition list

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Adds 2.49 million users in Jan; now 6th largest

Despite their licences being cancelled, new operators continue to add subscribers on their network.

Uninor, the joint venture between Telenor and Unitech Ltd, has added 2.49 million new mobile users on its network in January making it the top grosser among all operators. In comparison, market leader Bharti Airtel got 1.3 million new users while Idea Cellular added 1.7 million subscribers. Uninor is now the sixth largest GSM operator in the country with 38.7 million subscribers.

Other new players, except STel, also continued to add subscribers. Etisalat DB added 22,587 new users, Videocon got over 4 lakh and MTS added close to 1.5 lakh new subscribers in January.

Only STel ended up losing subscribers on its network as it has been asking its users to shift to another operator using Mobile Number Portability. Licences of all these operators have been cancelled by the Supreme Court. Uninor has been consistently adding over a million new subscribers ever since it started services. Post the licence cancellation, the company has started a massive advertisement campaign urging subscribers to stay on. “Our team is motivated than ever before to do well in the market. Our intention is to continue Indian operations,” Mr Sigve Brekke, Telenor's head for Asia, had said soon after the apex court scrapped the licences.

Overall, there are now 648 million GSM subscribers in the country with 8.4 million new subscribers. Uninor accounted for nearly 30 per cent of the net adds. “In our 13 commercial circles in 2011 the highest number of subscribers chose Uninor. We are satisfied to see that this strong preference continues into 2012 as well. It is our intention to continue competing as a mass market mobile service and ensure that the Indian mobile users continue to benefit from this competition,” Uninor said in a statement

tkt@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 24, 2012)
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