Record 5-m new subscribers added in November

Our Bureau

Ringing well


Bharti Airtel

added 1.65 million new subscribers in November

Hutchison Essar

added one million subscribers

BSNL

added 9.2 lakh subscribers

New Delhi, Dec. 8

India has joined the elite club of countries having more than 100 million GSM-based cellular phones with yet another record-breaking addition of new subscribers in November.

Cellular operators added five million new subscribers during the month, making India the third country with 100 million GSM cellular subscribers. This takes the total mobile user base to 140 million, with CDMA operators accounting for 40 million subscribers.

"The Cellular Operators Association of India is delighted to announce that total GSM subscriber base in India crossed the 100-million mark in November. The GSM subscribers continued to grow at a scorching pace and the GSM industry has set a new record by adding 5 million subscribers in November, which is even higher than the 4.7 million subscribers added in October," said a press release.

In terms of the GSM subscriber base, India is now placed third after China and Russia where there are 401 million and 152 million GSM subscribers, respectively. In the overall mobile market, India is placed fourth after the US where there are more CDMA subscribers than GSM.

Mr T.V. Ramachandran, Director General, COAI, said "GSM has been the primary engine of growth in telecom in India. The sharp spurt in overall mobile growth has been due to forward looking policies of the Ministry and enabling regulation."

Bharti Airtel added the highest number of users with 1.65 million new subscribers in November, taking its overall tally to 30 million. Hutchison Essar added one million new subscribers, taking its total user base to 22 million while state-owned BSNL added 9.2 lakh new GSM subscribers, taking its user base to nearly 23 million.

While CDMA operators are yet to declare their subscriber numbers, Reliance Communications said that it has added 1.3 million new subscribers in November.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 9, 2006)
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