The GSM operators lost 1.97 million subscribers in February, after a modest user addition during the previous month, taking its total base to 655.59 million.

This is a 0.30 per cent fall from previous month, according to data compiled by GSM operators’ body Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI). The GSM operators added 0.4 million users in January 2013, arresting losses of previous two months.

“The fall is due to shutting down of services by certain operators, while the subscriber verification initiatives have almost stabilised. Some of the subscribers were picked up others, but not all,” COAI Director-General Rajan S. Mathews said.

Uninor, which closed down operations in Mumbai on February 16, lost 8.35 million subscribers during the month. The company, which had a total of 31.77 million users, closed down operations following the Supreme Court order that operators who did not win spectrum in the previous auction should close down services.

Aircel lost 6,98,506 users during the month, dragging its customer base to 60.87 million. Videocon and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd were the other operators to record subscriber base erosion, with the companies losing 196,935 and 2,03,878, respectively.

Bharti Airtel continued to the country’s leading operator by subscribers, with the New Delhi-based company garnering a total of 186.62 million users.

It added 2.43 million subscribers, increasing its market share to 28.47 per cent, during the reporting month.

Vodafone India added 2.19 million users taking its total user base to 149.89 million, while Idea Cellular added 2.86 million subscribers increasing its subscriber base to 119.26 million.

rajesh.kurup@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on March 14, 2013)
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