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The country’s top mobile carrier, Bharti Airtel, enrolled nearly 28% of the 7.27 million subscribers that GSM operators added in May, according to data released by the Cellular Operators Association of India ( COAI) on Thursday.

Airtel, which has a market share of 27.34 %, added 2.01 million subscribers in May, taking its total subscriber base to 185.30 million, the GSM industry lobby said. The country’s total GSM user base climbed to 677.85 million at the end of May.

Maximum additions in excess of 1.44 million transpired in UP (East), accounting for nearly 20% of the total subscriber additions, the industry body said. The latest subscriber growth numbers come even as the Pranab Mukherjee-headed panel of ministers is slated to finalise all issues relating to the upcoming 2G spectrum auctions.

Vodafone India, with a market share of 22.50%, added 1.2 million customers during the month, taking its subscriber base to 152.48 million, while Aditya Birla group firm Idea Cellular added 1.75 million customers, taking its total subscriber base to nearly 116 million. Aircel, however, saw fewer customers additions at 0.8 million than 1.01 million recorded in April.

MTNL lost nearly 0.17 million customers causing its end-May subscriber base to plunge to 5.31 million from 5.48 million in April. Uninor, majority owned by Norway’s Telenor, added 1.52 million customers last month, taking its user base to 45.07 million.

In fact, its market share climbed to 6.65% from 6.49% last month even though Uninor’s future remains uncertain after the Supreme Court cancelled its pan-India mobile permit in February and has asked the government to issue fresh licences through an auction.

The latest spurt in subscriber numbers comes after all leading GSM operators like Bharti, Idea, Vodafone,Aircel and MTNL dropped their 3G price plans last month to woo more customers to take up high-end data services like video conferencing on mobiles, hitherto, considered exorbitant.

Source: The Economic Times


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