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Tamil Nadu loses 6 lakh internet connections, 33 lakh mobile phone subscriptions in April-June

Telecom companies lost about six lakh internet connections and more than 33 lakh mobile phone subscriptions between April and June in Tamil Nadu at the peak of the Covid-triggered lockdown.

However, the number of mobile phone subscriptions revived in August, increasing by more than seven lakh, with homes turning into classrooms for online classes in the new normal.

Tamil Nadu reported the maximum decline rate of 4% in wireless and wireline (mobile phone and telephone) subscriber base, according to The Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators April-June 2020 released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) last week.

In March, Tamil Nadu had 8.1 crore mobile phone subscriptions. This dropped to 7.8 crore three months later, a loss of 33.5 lakh subscriptions.

Though mobile phone subscriptions in Tamil Nadu including in the Chennai circle have been shrinking since September 2019, the drop from April to June 2020 has been particularly steep. Similarly, the number of landline connections in the same period dipped by more than 52,000.

From June to August, however, the number of mobile phone subscriptions increased by 7.7 lakh, while just 28 landline connections were surrendered in this period. V K Sanjeevi, chief general manager of BSNL Chennai Telephones, said the state-owned telecom operator recorded the demand for mobile phone data shooting up during the lockdown period. “One of the key factors for a jump in number of mobile phone subscriptions in August was online classes,” he told TOI.

As far as the internet subscriber base in the state is concerned, service providers lost about six lakh connections between March and June. From nearly 51.7 million in March, the number of internet connections, largely broadband, decreased to 51 million.

Telecom experts attributed this to the exodus of people from cities – mainly young professionals shifting back to their hometowns across the state – and small companies shutting down for a prolonged period.

Rakesh Ohri, president of The Central Park South Owners Association at Sholinganallur, a group of 172 apartment owners, said that 48 units in the complex had been vacated during the April-May period.

“Most of these apartment units had a broadband connection,” he said to drive home the impact of internet connections that were disconnected. However, the vacancies started getting occupied from September, he added.

Others said the situation is expected to improve as most of the lockdown restrictions have been lifted. ToI

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