India's private telecom service providers have a total of 1.035 billion subscribers. This includes subscriber figures of Aircel, RJio & MTNL as of February 2017, said a report from COAI, the apex industry association representing the country's major Telecom, Internet, Technology & Digital Services companies.
Amongst the individual companies, Bharti Airtel Ltd continues to hold the top position, with total subscribers reaching 304.9 million adding another 8,402,064 subscribers during March 2018. Airtel is followed by Vodafone India Ltd, which ended March with 222.69 million subscribers, adding 5,637,695. At the end of March 2018, Idea Cellular had the maximum number of subscriber additions, adding 9.14 million to bring its total subscribers to 211.2 million.
The report, which also provides mobile subscriber numbers for individual circles, showed that the UP (East) circle remained at the top with a total of 89.47 million subscribers, while Maharashtra remained at second position with a total of 83.61 million mobile subscribers.
Talking about the increase in the subscriber base, Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI, said, “We are immensely pleased to witness that country is continuing on its path of steady growth momentum. This consistent growth is imperative, particularly for the telecom industry, given its poor financial health and hyper-competition. The industry is also advancing by way of adopting emerging technologies, enhancing products & services, and preparing itself for 5G and major policy reforms. These efforts are sure to contribute on a large scale to the Government's initiatives such as Digital India. The growth seen in mobile subscribers this month is encouraging, and the industry is working daily to ensure that connectivity reaches the farthest corners of the country.”
Mobile connectivity and data services are imperative in the goal to bridge the digital divide in India. With these tools, we can move towards a truly equitable and democratic nation. The telecom industry, therefore, deserves an urgent and immediate intervention to encourage policy and regulatory stability, and facilitate growth, innovation and investment in the sector in view of the mounting financial debt and debilitating financial health of the industry.
The industry remains committed towards working for a fully connected and digitally empowered India and, furthering the Hon Prime Minister's vision of building a Digital India to empower the country's citizens with access to information via the Internet and crucial government services.