New Delhi: Slowdown in the telecom sector continued last month, with Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) operators adding just about 5.33 million subscribers in August, compared to 7.65 million in the earlier month.
The GSM subscriber base, thus, stood at 611.75 million at the end of last month.
For the fourth month in a row, subscriber additions continued to decline. In May, for the first time since October 2009, the subscriber additions were below the 10-million mark when 9.53 million GSM users were added.
In June, the numbers dipped further and only 8.58 million GSM users were added. The GSM subscriber base stood at 598.77 million at the end of June, and in July 7.64 million subscribers were added to take the total 606.41 million.
Bharti Airtel, the largest GSM player, added 1.15 million users in August, taking its total subscriber base to 171.84 million, data released by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) showed. It had 28.09% market share at the end of August.
Rival Vodafone Essar, with a 23.56% market share, notched up 1.13 million new subscribers during the month. Its subscriber base reached 144.14 million in August.
Aditya Birla group firm Idea Cellular added 2.33 million users during the month to take its total user base to 98.44 million, while Aircel added 602,312 customers to take its subscriber base to 59 million.
State-owned telecom firms BSNL and MTNL added 388,057 and 32,932 new users, respectively, taking their subscriber base to 90.62 million and 5.29 million, respectively.
The COAI data excludes data from Reliance Communications.
GSM is the most popular standard for mobile telephony systems in the world. The other technology platform on which Indian telcos offer services is CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access), where players such as Tata Teleservices (TTSL), RCom and MTS are the main operators. The two offer both GSM and CDMA services.