New Delhi: Bharti Airtel, India’s top mobile operator, signed up subscribers in August at its slowest pace in nearly three years and lagged some of its smaller rivals in a crowded 15-player market that is the world’s fastest-growing.
Bharti added 2.03 million mobile subscribers last month, its slowest pace of additions since October 2007 and compared with 2.6 million users added in July, data from the Cellular Operators’ Association of India showed on Wednesday. Bharti had a total of 141.3 million mobile users in India as at end-August.
Vodafone Essar, the country’s third-largest mobile phone operator and controlled by Vodafone, gained 2.3 million subscribers in August to have a total of 113.8 million, according to the trade body’s data.
Fourth-biggest Tata Teleservices, 26% owned by Japan’s NTT DoCoMo, said this week it gained 2.1 million mobile customers last month to have a total of 76.9 million.
This year, Bharti became the world’s fifth-biggest mobile carrier by subscribers after its acquisition of telecoms operations in 15 African countries from Kuwait’s Zain.
Bharti accounts for more than 21% share of India’s over 650 million mobile users.
Telenor’s India unit also outpaced Bharti in August by signing up 2.2 million mobile users and boosted its total to 9.1 million.
Sixth-ranked operator Idea Cellular added 1.99 million subscribers last month to have a total of 72.7 million.