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Monday, October 21, 2002

Mobile phones’ subscriber base declines

CELLULAR subscriber base has registered a decline in the addition at just 3.6 lakh in September compared to five lakh additions in August.

"The four metros together recorded a steep decline of 25 per cent reduction in additions," Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said in its latest figures released here today.

Total cellular subscriber base at all India level stood at 85.3 lakh in September as against 81.71 lakh in August, COAI said, adding in the four metros the cellular subscribers’ base went up to 34.91 lakh from 33.25 lakh during the period under consideration.

According to COAI, one of the major reasons for the dismal show was massive disconnection of pre-paid subscribers who had not provided identity authentication by the government deadline of September 30, 2002.

Another reason was the disconnection of Koshika in Uttar Pradesh (East) by the end of the month due to which over 56,000 subscribers had to be taken out of the system, the Association said.

According to the data, Mumbai recorded a fall of nearly 45 per cent whereas the overall Delhi figures showed a small growth despite a large drop in additions in the case of the two operators.

Delhi’s subscriber base registered growth, however, marginal, was mainly due to additions in state-owned Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd’s (MTNL) network, which crossed the one lakh mark in September.

MTNL’s cellular subscriber base in Delhi reached the figure of 1.09 lakh in September over 91,148 in August this year, while Bharti’s base in Delhi increased to 7.64 lakh from 7.35 lakh and that of Hutchison Essar’s went up to 5.31 lakh from 5.25 lakh during the period.

The growth level in ‘A’ circles comprising Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu registered a marginal jump to 28.28 lakh in September from 26.51 lakh in the previous month.

The ‘B’ circles constituting Kerala, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh (West), Uttar Pradesh (East), Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal posted a growth of about 12 per cent and the base stood at 19.34 lakh for the month of September as against 19.25 lakh in August.

Similarly in ‘C’ circles of Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Assam and North Eastern states, subscriber base went up to 2.78 lakh in September.

According to COAI, in case of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) the figures for September were not available.