Idea's Nov additions fall 1.1 m [DNA : Daily News & Analysis (India)]
(DNA : Daily News & Analysis (India) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Mumbai: GSM operators added 13.62 million subscribers in three months ended November, double that of 6.84 million added in the July-August quarter on better data tariff schemes and end of clean-up of non-active subscriber base.
The total GSM subscriber base has now reached to 688.02 million, according to Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) on Monday.
While all telcos reported growth in line with the industry, Idea Cellular, the third largest mobile operator, reported a massive decline in subscriber additions in November at just 36,219, as compared with 1.15 million in October.
Bharti Airtel led with 1.72 million subscriber additons in November, followed by Vodafone (1.34 million), Uninor (36,089 additons in November, as compared to 21,935 million loss in October), MTNL (5,933 additions in November compared to 164,698 loss in October).
Shoubit Khare, analyst with Motilal Oswal Financial Services, said, "While there was a decline in overall subscriber additions due to telcos taking turns in cleaning up their subscriber base, the last three months' numbers show this process is complete. However, Idea's month-on-month decline in November over October is definitely a matter of concern."
Interestingly, Idea gained 14.27 million subscribers in last 12 months - highest among all operators. This, at a time when the overall industry lost 10.25 million subscribers last year.
An Idea spokesperson said, "Month-on-month declines can be attributed to fluctuating gross additions and subscriber churn - but should be compared with yearly data, and not viewed separately. However, this is not related to clean-up of subscriber base, as we have the highest visitor location register numbers and mobile number portability port-ins in the country."
Industry experts differ. "Idea's recent tariff corrections have been significantly higher than its peers. For example, Bharti, which is very aggressive, has an 8% lower voice realisation rate than Idea," Nitin Padmanabhan of Espirito Santo said.
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