GSM operators, including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone, added a 8.44 million subscribers in February, taking the total number of GSM subscribers to 656.86 million, Cellular Operators Association of India said.
New telecoms companies – Uninor and MTS – whose licences were canceled by the Supreme Court on February 2, 2012 continued to attract new subscribers.
Idea Cellular, that lost nine licences in the SC judgement, added the largest number of subscribers with 2.5 million. Uninor, that lost all its permits, added 2.3 million customers in February. Uninor now has more than 41.1 million customers in India. The telecom operator announced that it will dump its existing joint venture partner Unitech and form a new company in India to continue operations in India.
Sistema Shyam Teleservices that operates under the MTS brand said it had added more than 232,000 customers in February, taking its total customer base to nearly 15.4 million, even though the Russian parent has challenged licence cancellation under a bilateral trade agreement.
Sistema Shyam is the only company to offer services exclusively on CDMA technology. Despite lower additions, Bharti Airtel continues to be the market leader with more than 27% market share. It added more than 1.8 million customers in February taking its total to nearly 179 million customers.
Vodafone Essar added more than 838,000 customers to take its total to more than 149 million customers and market share to nearly 23%. Idea Cellular now has more than 110 million customers with a 16.8% market share.
Amongst the new telcos, Videocon registered its second consecutive addition in subscriber base after months of continuously loosing customers.