Vodafone added more than twice the number of subscribers that market leader Airtel managed to add in April, with Idea Cellular also outstripping Airtel in this race for new subscribers.
According to data released by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), Vodafone added 1.42 million new subscribers against just 0.6 million by Airtel while Idea added 1.28 million, again double the number of people who opted for a new Airtel connection.
So why is Airtel lagging in new subscriber additions?
Already, Vodafone is snapping at its heels with over 23% share of the total market when Airtel’s share is 28.41%. Unless Airtel pulls up its socks, Vodafone is sure to close the gap further.
The two leading telcos anyway account for more than half the GSM mobile connections in India or put simply, this means every second GSM subscriber is either on Airtel or on Vodafone.
Idea Cellular has a little over 18% of the market so still some time away from getting even a fifth of the total GSM market but it is growing rapidly.
The smaller players – Videocon, Uninor, MTNL and Loop- together account for just over 6% of the market, leaving BSNL with close to 15% of the market and Aircel another 9%.
With growing buzz of market consolidation among smaller players, the market share pie may soon look very different though.
The COAI data shows that though Vodafone added the largest number of actual subscribers, in percentage terms, Videocon added the largest number of new subscribers at 6.49% though in actual terms this number was only 0.13 million.
Then, April was the first month after November 2012 – when cleaning up by telcos lead to a sharp decline in subscriber number for almost all operators – when total industry subscriber numbers crossed the November mark.
Total industry subscribers fell by a huge margin in November and December before inching up marginally in January but again fell in February. Now, after the growth in March and April, the total industry subscriber base stands at 664.5 million against 663.8 million in November. In April alone, 3.51 million new subscribers were added but this compares poorly with March additions which stood at 5.32 million. – First Post