New Delhi: Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the apex industry association representing the country's major telecom, Internet, technology and digital services companies, on Friday released a report stating that the total mobile subscribers base in January 2018 has grown to 988.49 million subscribers.
Amongst the individual companies, Bharti Airtel Ltd continues to hold the top position, with 29.50 percent market share, adding another 15,02,755 subscribers during January, to take its total subscriber base to 291.61 million subscribers.
Airtel is closely followed by Vodafone India Ltd, which ended January with 213.81 million subscribers, while Idea Cellular Ltd stood at 197.64 million subscribers at the end of the first month of the year.
The report, which also provides mobile subscriber numbers for individual circles, showed that the Uttar Pradesh (East) circle remained at the top with a total of 85.58 million subscribers, while Maharashtra remained at second position with a total of 81.56 million mobile subscribers.
"The increased numbers are a glimmer of hope for the sector, which is going through one of its darkest phases due to hyper-competition and poor financial health. All the operators have significantly expanded their services across the country, and have begun heavily diversifying their services beyond voice and data for the consumer. The industry has ensured that government's 'Digital India' programme reaches the farthest corners of the country and everyone reaps the benefit of new communication technologies," said Director General, COAI, Rajan S Mathews.
"Our member operators have made a further commitment to invest another Rs 74,000 crore in their recent meeting at the Department of Telecommunications, for enhanced consumer experience and seamless connectivity. However, Right of Way (RoW) and myths around EMF continue to remain impediment for the industry for accessing current sites. We urge the government and our citizens to help us, serve them better," Mathews added.
Mobile connectivity and data services have played a pivotal role in bridging the digital divide and moving India towards a truly equitable and democratic nation.
The telecom industry, therefore, deserves an urgent and immediate intervention to encourage policy and regulatory stability, and facilitate growth, innovation and investment in the sector in view of the mounting financial debt and debilitating financial health of the industry.