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 Thursday, June 05, 2008

At the end of April, the number of mobile connections in India reached 264.19m, a 3.0% monthly increase. Excluding March 07, when Reliance suffered a net loss of over 4m due to the reclassification of its CDMA customers, this was the lowest proportionate monthly growth rate since April 2005. In absolute terms, there were 7.63m net additions in April 2008, the lowest figure for ten months. Nevertheless, this figure was 43.5% higher than the number of net additions recorded in April 2007, and in terms of annual net additions, a significant milestone was achieved: 101.82m net additions in the 12 months ending 30th April 2008, the first time the 100m mark has been passed in any market in the world.

GSM continues to dominate in India, with 73.77m net additions in the year compared to 28.05m for CDMA. At the end of April, there were 198.58m GSM customers and 65.61m CDMA. In proportionate terms, CDMA growth actually exceeded GSM growth in the 12 months ended 30 h April, with a 74.7% growth rate compared to GSM’s 59.1%; however, the CDMA figure was skewed by the reclassification of Tata’s WLL customer base as mobile in July 2007. Since then, GSM’s share of the total has been gradually increasing, reaching 75.2% at the end of April.

Bharti is the clear market leader in India with 64.37m customers, almost 17m higher than its nearest rival Reliance. Its market share has been steadily increasing, from 24.0% at the end of April 2007 to 24.4% a year later. Meanwhile, Reliance and Vodafone have been battling for second place for some time now, although Reliance has succeeded in fending off Vodafone’s challenge so far, despite the gap closing to 0.64m at the end of August 2007. At the end of April 2008, Reliance’s lead was 1.64m, with 47.42m customers compared to Vodafone’s 45.78m.

State-owned BSNL lost 0.14m customers in April but retained its fourth place with 36.26m. It lost 0.5pp market share in the month and 3.6pp annually. Meanwhile, IDEA finished on 25.04m, regaining the fifth place it ceded to Tata following the latter’s WLL reclassification.

Source: Cellular News.