Indian telecom not giving up – added 13 million new GSM connections in March
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Indian telecom not giving up – added 13 million new GSM connections in March

India’s mobile connection rampage continues. With a growth rate unparalleled in the world, India Inc added 10.8 million new GSM subscribers in the month of March 2009. This 10.8 is without adding Reliance’s GSM additions.

Reliance is believed to be adding 2.5 million GSM subscribers in the month of March. Airtel added 2.8 million subscribers and vodafone added the most at 2.84 million GSM subscribers. BSNL has showed a significant jump in the percentage increase over the previous month with a 5.67% increase and 2.5 million new connections.

Reliance has widened its gap with Vodafone Essar with its launch of GSM operations. It along with Tata Teleservices are the only two operators who run both GSM and CDMA networks. The GSM consortium has lobbied against this but it failed. Reliance has prevailed and the results are startling.

It added a 11.3 million total customers in the last 3 months. The split between CDMA and GSM are not known but the numbers are significant. Reliance’s total subscriber base stands at 72.6 million at the end of March 2009.

  1. Bharti Airtel – 93.92 million
  2. Reliance Communications – 72.6 million
  3. Vodafone Essar – 68.76 million

Projections  from BusinessStandard:

  1. Tele-density of the country will go up to 50% from 35% by the end of this fiscal 2009-10.
  2. India will have 500 million GSM subscribers by the end of 2009
  3. 800 million mobile connections by 2012
  4. 1 billion mobile connections in a few years after 2012.

Top 9 GSM Operators in India :  

Sl. No. Name of Company Total Sub Figures Additions in March % Market Share
1 Bharti Airtel 93923248 2808277 32.57
2 Vodafone Essar 68768998 2848096 23.84
3 BSNL 46684049 2503169 16.18
4 IDEA 43022799 1504186 14.91
5 Aircel 18478325 1001363 6.4
6 Reliance Telecom 11145176 0 3.86
8 MTNL 4176676 92097 1.44
9 BPL 2164211 91027 0.75
  All India 288363482 10848215 100



Aircel’s aggressive expansion has helped this trend. It added 1 million customers in the month of March. MTS India (a CDMA operator) already has half a million customers. With 3 new players set to launch their services the growth we have seen in the past 3 months might be dwarfed.

China has 600 million subscribers and adds 4 million a month. At the rate India is going it will be a matter of 4 years till we catch up. Research tells that mobile penetration is directly linked or has some affect on economic progress. With 1 billion phone connections will India be the most prosperous country?