Airtel pips Vodafone, Idea in user addition; Telenor lost 0.98 million users in February: COAI


Bharti Airtel, right now India’s leading telecom operator added a maximum number of 1.2 million new subscribers this February, to take its total subscriber base to about 270.64 million subscribers, an industry group Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) Thursday said.

India’s No 2 carrier Vodafone India gained 0.79 million net subscribers in January, while No 3 telco Idea Cellular added 1.2 million new users. Vodafone now has 207.22 million subscribers and Idea Cellular has with it 193.26 million subscribers.

With 33.11%, Bharti Airtel continues to own the maximum market share in the industry. Vodafone and Idea own 25.35% and 23.64% market share, respectively.

Idea and Vodafone however, with their merger announcement on Monday will tip Bharti Airtel to become the largest operator in India. The merger, worth Rs 1.55 lakh crore will make the new entity take the top slot in the telecom industry.

Telenor India lost over 0.98 million users in month, taking overall subscribers to 51.6 million in February 2017. Aircel added just over 13,000 customers during the same period, taking overall customer base to over 91 million.

In February , Telenor wrapped up its ill-starred India venture by agreeing to sell the business to market leader Bharti Airtel, which will take on some of the Norwegian telecom giant’s local liabilities in return .

The Indian telecom industry added 2.27 million mobile subscribers in the mobile telephony market in February 2017, taking the overall GSM base to 817.42 million.

“The telecommunication industry has again posted a good growth for the month of February 2017. The growth in the subscriptions indicates that consumer base is expanding and reaching new horizons in the country. We are an enabler of comprehensive growth. The industry has also ensured that government’s plans reach even the farthest corners of the country and everyone is equally benefitted,” Rajan S Mathews, director general, COAI, said.

UP East with 74.61 million mobile subscribers, is the largest circle in India after adding 0.26 million customers in February. Maharashtra came second with 70.32 million mobile subscribers, with Bihar coming a close third with 69.31 million subscribers. On the other hand, Punjab leads in the number of new additions with 0.58 million new subscribers in the month.