Despite a steep fall in the customer base over the past few months, telecom companies are likely to add 48.9 million new subscribers in FY 2013-14, with their emphasis on deeper penetration in rural areas, a CMIE report has said.
MNP, clean-up exercise
The recent fall in subscriber base — nearly 36 million — is mainly due to the implementation of mobile number portability (MNP) and the clean-up exercise by service providers, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) said in its report.
The telecom user base is expected to increase in the next fiscal on the back of the rural thrust of the operators.
“During 2013-14, service providers are expected to add 48.9 million new subscribers. Most of these would be from rural areas,” it said.
While the urban areas are ‘over-penetrated’ with a tele-density of 159.5 per cent, in rural areas, it is just 40.6 per cent.
“This indicates that these areas hold lot of opportunities for the operators to grow subscriber base,” it said.
Fall in user base
However, in the current fiscal, it expects telcos to lose 35.9 million subscribers to 915.5 million. The fall would be partly because of the clean-up exercise by mobile service providers and also because of the exit of some who have lost licences.
Since the implementation of MNP in January 2011, over 75 million subscribers have opted for transfer. Also, around 30 million users had their connections disconnected during July-October last year due to clean-up activity by service providers.