Bharti Airtel, India’s largest GSM mobile operator, added nearly 1.13 million net new subscribers in March, according to the latest data released by the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI). Bharti had 19.58 million GSM users at the end of the first quarter, whilst Hutchison Telecom India ended the period with 15.36 million, having added 829,979 subscribers during March. Reliance Telecom, the GSM business of Reliance Communications added 103,905 GSM users in the month to end March with 1.9 million subscribers. State-run operator BSNL had 17.16 million (up 1.09 million) whilst its sister company MTNL ended March with 1.81 million (up 92,978).
The total user base of India’s nine GSM-based mobile operators grew 5.9% in March to 69.06 million, driven by cheap tariffs, the low cost of handsets and rising incomes among India’s growing middle class. Last week, the Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India said the total subscriber base of the country’s four CDMA mobile operators increased by 1.46 million in March to 29.28 million.